Rishabh Pant’s brute power will be put to test against Rashid Khan’s bagful of tricks in an Indian Premier League encounter where Delhi Capitals will start as favourites against Sunrisers Hyderabad due to their better bowling resources.
The much-criticised Chepauk track will host its 10th and final IPL game of the season in which both Pant and his opposite number David Warner would pray for a decent batting surface for their flamboyant batters.
With only a couple of first innings total in excess of 170 across nine games in Chennai, the slow and gripping surface at the MA Chidambaram Stadium tests the skills of the batsmen in a different manner.
SRH vs DC head-to-head
|Matches||SRH wins||DC wins|
Possibly, it’s the ability to muscle the ball that will come in handy on this track and hence the DC skipper’s role as a batsman will become all the more important.
While Shikhar Dhawan is in good form and Prithvi Shaw impressing in flashes, the batsmen will have to step up on a pitch that will assist spin and cutters once again.
In fact, Hyderabad, after playing all its four games in Chennai, have only now gotten close to cracking the code of a slow track, evident during the team’s comfortable victory over Punjab Kings after a hat-trick of defeats.
With Kane Williamson back in the mix, Sunrisers seemed to have got a better balance in a set-up which is acutely short of quality India internationals.
With T Natarajan’s death bowling unavailable for rest of this season and Manish Pandey only able to manage a strike-rate of 112 odd, bulk of the responsibility is on overseas recruits Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Williamson and Rashid.
The wily Afghan has again been very consistent and his duel with Pant could be one of the most eagerly-awaited match-ups.
SRH’s weak link is certainly its bowling attack with none among Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul or all-rounder Vijay Shankar inspiring any sort of confidence.
So DC will have 12 overs out of 20 on which they can feast upon if one takes away the eight bowled by Rashid and the seasoned Bhuvneshwar Kumar (who, it remains to be seen, if fit enough to play).
However, a bit of tweak in their XI also won’t be bad even though they had comfortably beaten Mumbai Indians in a low-scoring game here only a few days back.
Ashwin, who has not had the wickets to show for but has earned dressing room appreciation from coach Ricky Ponting, will hope his home ground will help him add a few more to the final column. Axar Patel has returned to the DC bubble and, if fit, could lend balance.
Similarly, Pant would also like to check out if Chris Woakes is a better option with his pace and also some all-round skills in place of Kagiso Rabada, who has been off colour till now.
Veterans Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma could continue to be on sidelines unless both Lalit Yadav and Avesh Khan are left out.
For Sunrisers, how Trevor Bayliss and VVS Laxman set up the batting order will be important.
Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan, Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddarth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (c), Kane Williamson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Sreevats Goswami (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Virat Singh, Jason Holder, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddarth Kaul, Basil Thampi, Jagadeesha Suchith, Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman.
Match starts at 7:30 PM IST.
(With PTI inputs)
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