It’s still early days but it does feel strange to see a side with internationally-active and glamorous T20 players languish at the bottom of the table after the first week of the Indian Premier League 2020.
Sunrisers Hyderabad has been a consistent side in the tournament and to live up to the reputation, it needs to get its act together against Delhi Capitals at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
New Zealand star Kane Williamson already declared that he is available for selection. His inclusion could be the turning point for David Warner’s side after losing to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. Being the former captain, he is expected to know the revival route. But if he is in, the T20 World No. 1 all-rounder Mohammad Nabi may have to go out.
World No. 1 T20 spinner Rashid Khan has been ordinary so far with one wicket in two outings.
The opening partnership of Warner and Jonny Bairstow usually sets the stage for the Sunrisers but this time around, the Aussie-English duo is yet to launch the fireworks collectively. They lasted 11 balls for 18 runs against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai, followed by a run-a-ball 24 against Kolkata Knight Riders at this ground.
A Warner-Bairstow special can help turn the tide.
Manish Pandey looks promising at No. 3. Though Wriddhiman Saha scored a 31-ball 30 against KKR — with one four and a six — a few more games could probably make him better. He has had a stop-start journey in the tournament in recent years and needs time. On the fast bowling front, Siddarth Kaul could be a solid addition based on experience.
The story is completely different in the Delhi camp. By virtue of talent and a bit of luck, it has won two out of two. The match-winners — Kagiso Rabada, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw — have been responding well and the addition of Anrich Nortje has bolstered the bowling attack.
Marcus Stoinis’ explosive 53 off 21 balls in its tournament opener from a precarious position perhaps lifted the morale of the side. Shreyas Iyer’s men have done no wrong since.
It is not likely to tinker with the combination. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and pacer Ishant Sharma are nursing minor injuries. They are being monitored by team physio Patrick Farhart and at the pre-match press conference, leg-spinner Amit Mishra confirmed that they should be back soon.
Mishra, another IPL giant, replaced Ashwin. It is a win-win situation in the spin department.
Compared to Dubai and Sharjah, the Abu Dhabi wicket is slightly on the slower side with the average score hovering around the 170-mark.
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (c), Kagiso Rabada, Marcus Stoinis, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Tushar Deshpande, Rishabh Pant, Harshal Patel, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson, David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Virat Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Basil Thampi, Abhishek Sharma, Billy Stanlake, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, K Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Mitchell Marsh, Bavanaka Sandeep, Fabian Allen, Abdul Samad, Sanjay Yadav, Rashid Khan
Match No. 11
Time: 7.30 pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates