Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad have had very differing paths but here they are, one match away from booking a place in the finals against the Mumbai Indians. Delhi has gone from the being the team to beat, to a streak of four losses towards the end of the group stages. They did book a spot in the top two by beating another team on the downhill, Royal Challengers Bangalore, in their final league match.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, looked destined to be rooted to the bottom of the table. They’ve since gone on a run to beat RCB twice, and MI and DC twice apiece. Their bowling attack was too hot to handle for RCB in the Eliminator, and it begs wondering how much better it would’ve been if Bhuvaneshwar Kumar hadn’t been ruled out with an injury. Based on the recent past, however, the momentum is clearly on the Sunrisers’ side.
Delhi’s batting needs a rejig
Going into the tournament, Delhi’s batting, especially their Indian core, was much heralded. But with everyone other than Shikhar Dhawan not meeting expectations, the batting hasn’t covered itself in much glory. With a maximum of two games to go, they desperately need to get the personnel and their positions right. Playing one woefully out of form top order batsman is bad enough, but Delhi play two! Prithvi Shaw and Ajinkya Rahane have both fallen a long way short of expectations, and Delhi needs to choose only one among them for this match. Considering Shaw’s struggles with swing, it’d be wise to keep him away from Jason Holder and Sandeep Sharma. With such a top-heavy batting unit, it was always going to be tough for Delhi to fit Shimron Hetmeyer in the eleven. It also requires Daniel Sams to be left out of the squad, which would then mean the inclusion of an Indian pacer which is not ideal. But it is a chance that Delhi has to take, and aim to shore up their batting.
Do the Sunrisers need an offspinner?
Hyderabad’s biggest weapon is Rashid Khan. Perhaps the biggest weapon in all T20. With the high proportion of googlies that he bowls, Rashid isn’t your typical leg-spinner who you can counter with a bunch of left-handers. It will be important for the Indian contingent to manoeuvre around Rashid and protect their foreign counterpart. But still, it is worth pondering whether playing an offspinner for Shahbaz Nadeem could provide a lot of value against a lineup that will have Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, and likely Hetmeyer. The only full-time offspinner in the squad is Mohammad Nabi, but none of their current overseas players can be dropped from the squad.
DC probable playing 11 – 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Shimron Hetmeyer, 5 Rishabh Pant(wk), 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Harshal Patel, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Kagiso Rabada 11 Anrich Nortje
SRH probable playing 11 – 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Shreevats Goswami (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Kane Williamson, 5 Priyam Garg, 6 Jason Holder, 7 Abdul Samad, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Shahbaz Nadeem, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 T Natarajan
There has been no news on Wriddhiman Saha’s injury, with SRH preferring to keep It under wraps. If Saha is able to return, considering his and his team’s form, Delhi will need to bring about something special akin to early IPL if they need to stand a chance of winning. With SRH’s bowlers in form, Delhi cannot afford to just play out Rashid. They need to be a little more pro-active while facing Rashid, and not let him get on top of them.