If someone had to predict the result for this fixture between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad at the latter’s home at the exact halfway stage of the 12th edition of Indian Premier League, there would have been very little doubt as to who the favourites were a few days back.
But given recent form, it’s Delhi Capitals who march into Hyderabad with confidence as the teams take on each other in the return leg on Sunday.
Shikhar Dhawan will be keen to build on to his new-found form ahead of the World Cup and also help Delhi continue their winning run. A confident Delhi are coming off back-to-back victories against Royal Challengers Bangalore and a strong Kolkata Knight Riders outfit.
After Friday’s win over KKR (coupled with KXIP’s defeat against RCB), Delhi have climbed to fourth spot with eight points from seven matches and have found momentum at a crucial stage.
Dhawan roared back into form with an unbeaten 97 off 63 balls to power Delhi to a seven-wicket win overs hosts KKR.
Chasing 179, Rishabh Pant (46 off 31 balls) played a perfect second fiddle to Dhawan, curbing his rash shots and showing maturity in a 105-run partnership from 69 balls, which virtually killed the contest as Delhi reached the target with seven balls to spare. Although Dhawan missed out on a well-deserved century, he must have got his confidence back and he would like to continue the good job.
Besides Dhawan and Pant, skipper Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw have also been among runs but not consistently and the Delhi batsmen would be looking to fire in unison against Hyderabad.
Even Delhi’s bowling unit comprising Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, Ishant Sharma did well to restrict KKR on a good batting track. Rabada is leading the way this season in the wicket-takers list while Ishant bowled with venom against KKR.
In contrast, Sunrisers Hyderabad have suffered defeats in their previous two games and would be desperate to get back to winning ways. Hyderabad will draw confidence from the fact that they had thrashed Delhi when the two teams met last time in Feroz Shah Kotla, even though Delhi skipper Iyer said his team has evolved since then.
Having restricted Delhi to 129 for eight, the Sunrisers achieved the target in 18.3 overs, handing the home team a five-wicket defeat.
Although the Sunrisers looked threatening in their first three games when David Warner and Jonny Bairstow stitched century-plus stands, once either of the duo get out cheaply, the Hyderabad middle-order looks out of depth.
Sunrisers’ middle-order fell apart against Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab in their last two games with the likes of Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan falling flat.
On the bowling front, the pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma and Siddharth Kaul have been decent while the Afghan spin duo of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi have also been impressive in the middle overs. But they failed to contain Kings XI Punjab batsmen, especially KL Rahul, the other day.
Incidentally, SRH have an economy rate of 6.00 in the powerplay overs – the best this season while DC meanwhile have the best economy rate between overs 17-20 – 8.90.
Hyderabad will hope that their bowlers give a good account of themselves against the Delhi batsmen on Saturday.
Head to Head in IPL:
Overall: Matches – 13, Sunrisers Hyderabad – 9, Delhi Capitals –4.
Since 2018: Matches – 3, Sunrisers Hyderabad – 3, Delhi Capitals – 0.
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer(capt), Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant(wk), Colin Ingram, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Ankush Bains, J Suchith, Manjot Kalra, Chris Morris, Sherfane Rutherford, Jalaj Saxena, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayyappa, Colin Munro.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (capt), Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, David Warner, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Martin Guptill, Vijay Shankar, T Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Shreevats Goswami, Khaleel Ahmed, Billy Stanlake, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem.
Match starts at 8 pm IST.
(With inputs from PTI and iplt20.com)