The final lap of games leading to the playoffs is a tricky stage in the Indian Premier League. A big-margin victory or an under-par score game can decide the fate of a few teams huddling for the third and fourth spot. An inconsistent Sunrisers Hyderabad will be desperate for victory against Delhi Capitals in Dubai on Tuesday to stay afloat in the tournament.
Though DC lost two in a row, it will start favourites against SRH. With 14 points, Shreyas Iyer’s side is second on the table and a win away from making the playoffs for the second straight year.
Chasing a modest target of 127 against Kings XI Punjab last weekend, SRH folded for 114 from 100/4 at one stage with 23 balls to spare. The mindset and temperament caused by the inconsistency is a cause for concern.
There are cracks in the DC batting department. It is largely dependent on skipper Iyer and seasoned opener Shikhar Dhawan, who smashed two consecutive hundreds in the season. Prithvi Shaw’s poor form led coach Ricky Ponting to hand him a break and Ajinkya Rahane, who is still floating in the batting order, is yet to find his zone. He was out for a first-ball duck against KKR.
It is a similar story for SRH. The batting revolves around Warner and Jonny Bairstow. Manish Pandey is a solid No. 3 and there were sparks in Vijay Shankar.
The key men
Facing Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje upfront will be a challenging task for Warner and Bairstow and that contest is certain to set the stage.
SRH will rely on magic weaver Rashid Khan to unsettle the Delhi top order. The addition of Jason Holder has bolstered the bowling department as the West Indian picked five wickets in his first two games.
Mumbai Indians, DC and Royal Challengers Bangalore look certain for the playoffs.
The fourth spot will be a tussle between KXIP, KKR, SRH and Rajasthan Royals. Since SRH has a better net run rate among the three teams, it needs to win its remaining three games to keep its chances alive.
Match No. 47, SRH vs DC
Dubai International Stadium
Time: 7.30 pm
Sunrisers Hyderabad (probable XI): David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Jason Holder, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, T. Natarajan
Delhi Capitals (probable XI): Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel R Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.