No one expected Delhi to be here – they have never reached the IPL final, never made the top-two and they have consistently battled for the wooden spoons in past seasons. But now they have made it to the knock-out stage and even though this is the T20 format, they will go into the Eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad as the favourites.
Delhi Capitals are playing the do-or-die game despite securing 18 points after nine wins and five losses from 14 matches. They are the in-form team. SRH, on the other hand, have struggled after David Warner and Jonny Bairstow went back and they needed a favour from the Mumbai Indians in the last match of the tournament to come through.
Delhi topped the table for a bit before a big loss against the Chennai Super Kings saw them drop to third place. It was an inexplicable collapse – one that reminded us of their inexperience and that is what SRH will hope to capitalise on as well.
Kagiso Rabada’s injury was a huge blow to DC and their bowling line-up will need to find inspiration in a different form.
SRH, on the other hand, need someone to step up in a big way. They have struggled to find their way without Warner and Bairstow and became the first team to qualify for the IPL knockouts with just 12 points.
Manish Pandey has found some form of late but that won’t be enough. Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill, Wriddhiman Saha or even Vijay Shankar will need to do better... much better.
The SRH bowling has a much more sorted feel to it with Rashid Khan, Bhuvneswar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed in pretty decent form.
Seven of the 11 IPL matches played at the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam have been won by the team batting first. So the toss could be crucial and Williamson has won only two out of eight tosses this season.
Dhawan the key
There are plenty of dynamic batsmen on both sides but Delhi Capitals’ Shikhar Dhawan will be the key. He has the experience, he knows the SRH bowling attack well and he has been in fine form too. When he does get going, it allows the other Delhi batsmen to find their feet in the middle and play shots without any worries.
After being traded to Delhi, the India opener has lived up to the expectations of the team management and franchise, scoring over 450 runs at a more than decent strike-rate too. Skipper Shreyas Iyer (over 400 runs) has shown immense maturity while leading the side and also played some substantial knocks.
Previous meetings in 2019
2nd game: DC 155/7; SRH 116 all out
SRH were cruising and then they collapsed. The openers put on 72 but the team then crumbled without rhyme or reason to 116 all out with Rabada, Chris Morris and Keemo Paul running through them.
1st game: DC 129/8; SRH 131/5
Mohammad Nabi played a key role in the SRH win claiming 2-21 in his 4 overs and then Bairstow finished the chase off with a quickfire 48 off 28 balls.
Given their past record, DC is unlikely to have a positive head-to-head record against anyone.
Overall matches – 14, Delhi Capitals wins – 5, Sunrisers Hyderabad wins – 9.
Key battles to watch out for:
- Shikhar Dhawan vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar / Khaleel Ahmed
- Shreyas Iyer vs Rashid Khan
- Manish Pandey vs Amit Mishra
Teams (likely XI):
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (capt), Rishabh Pant, Colin Ingram, Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Trent Boult
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Wriddhiman Saha, Martin Guptill, Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson (capt), Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, K Khaleel Ahmed.