This is going to be such a un-IPL game, where it’s not too tough to pick up a favourite. Delhi is right now sitting at the top of the table, while SRH is yet to open its account and currently languishing at the bottom.
If nothing seems to be going right for the Sunrisers Hyderabad so far in the first two matches, Delhi Capitals is turning everything into gold. Prime example is Hyderabad’s inexplicable loss against RCB when they were almost home and Capitals just got a great reprieve against KXIP Punjab where they snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat, courtesy a dominant Super over.
And this is the reason why Delhi is sitting at the top of the table, while SRH is yet to open its account and currently languishing at the bottom. If the first three wins certainly make life easier for DC in a tournament where every team is desperate for a good start, coming back from three consecutive losses is the hardest unless the team happens to be Mumbai Indians.
Videshi vs Aatmanirbhar openers
The opening pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow is the most important weapon of Hyderabad. Too much reliance on a completely overseas pair is in contrast with the Capitals’ faith in two of India’s openers. Capitals may be taking aatmanirbhar route in this department, but unlike their rival, they are not heavily dependent on Shaw-Dhawan Jodi.
“We could have hit a little bit harder, taken a few more risks. We just can’t be having batsmen on the bench and just two batsmen batting 20 overs. We played 4-5 overs for about 20 runs after I got out,” SRH captain Warner said after the loss of the last match and acknowledging that their middle order is too brittle.
Captain Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Marcus Stoinis are capable enough to fight back, in case their openers have an off-day.
Trump cards clueless vs X factor
It is an open secret that in the bowling department, SRH’s trump cards are the spin-pace duo of Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Fifteen overs and just one wicket between them is a disappointing number for such a formidable pair in the first two matches of the new season.
Against Delhi, they will be up against a player who is often described as the X factor of DC. Pant, whose highest IPL score (unbeaten 128 in 2018) came against the SRH. Pant has been very dominant against SRH (328 at a strike rate of 162 with an average of 46.86!). Hence unsurprisingly, his one-on-one battles against Bhuvi (averages 65 and strike rate of 250) and Khan ( average 54. strike rate 146 ) speak about his command vs the two.
In the new season, Pant is also showing that he is no longer in the bang-bang mood all the time as he hasn’t hit a six in the T20s this year, and also batted 60 balls without a six in the IPL! Something he has never done in IPL!
Bring in Williamson against all-round attack?
Hyderabad is in a Catch-22 situation as far as bringing New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson into the playing XI is concerned. The Kiwi can only get a chance if all- rounder Mohammed Nabi is dropped, which, of course, will disturb the combinations.
Delhi has a solid new ball attack of South African pacers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. The pace attack is backed by the miserly Axar Patel and veteran Amit Mishra. And, we are not even talking about Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin who are out of the XI for fitness reasons. If there is one batsman in SRH who can negate this advantage of Delhi, it is Williamson . Since 2017, Williamson’s 259 runs in six innings at an average of 64.75 against Delhi are his best in the IPL.(Vimal Kumar is a senior sports journalist who has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. Vimal is also the author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide.)Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of IPL 2020 here