At home, SRH hopes to keep the flag waving

With a good season so far under its belt, a marauding Sunrisers Hyderabad locks horns with a struggling Delhi Daredevils at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Saturday.

Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar chat during a practice session in Hyderabad on Friday.   -  K. V. S. Giri

With a good season so far under its belt, a marauding Sunrisers Hyderabad locks horns with a struggling Delhi Daredevils at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Saturday, in what could be a billed as a mouth watering contest between the host’s bowling and visitor’s batting prowess.

Sunrisers, with 12 points from eight games, has proved that T20 is not all about batting blitzkriegs as it has successfully managed to defend low scores, more than once.

A formidable bowling attack comprising Rashid Khan, Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma and Basil Thampi — who have been spot on in terms of tactics and miserly in terms of leaking runs — is where Sunrisers have looked lethal.

 

With Bhuvneshwar Kumar recovering from his injury, and he almost being a certain starter, adds more venom to the attack.

The pacer went through his complete training routine and looked in minimal discomfort.

The tactical acumen of Kane Williamson has been the talk of the tournament and the New Zealander has eased into his role easily and hasn’t put a foot wrong thus far.

The cause of concern would be the form of its opener Shikhar Dhawan who has had a string of failures since his return from his elbow injury.

Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan have been notching up responsible, yet below par, performances in the all rounders department and the platform against Delhi Daredevils would be perfect for the veterans to get back to form.

The big-hitting Baroda batsman spent a lot of time in the middle, carting the net bowlers and his teammates for huge sixes, warming up for the big stage on Saturday.

It is also time Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha and Deepak Hooda ease out the burden on Williamson in the batting department and get a string of good performances under their belt, ahead of the playoffs.

Delhi Daredevils, on the other hand, has pushed itself to a wall and has to win its remaining matches, along with hoping for some help from the other teams, to ensure a smooth sailing into the playoffs.

The change if guard at the helm seems to have done some good for the team from the capital as it has brought out some performances of repute.

Beating Rajasthan in its last game should give some boost to the Shreyas Iyer-led side but repeating the performance against Sunrisers would be a herculean task.

The failures of Glenn Maxwell and Colin Munro have added to Delhi’s woes but with Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw and Iyer looking good with the bat, the team has had some reasons to smile.

Trent Boult has had been among the wickets for Delhi Daredevils but has lacked support from the likes of Avesh Khan, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem. The foreign recruit in Liam Plunkett too has looked ordinary and posed no threat to any opponent.

Should Delhi Daredevils need to manage to upset the applecart of Sunrisers, an inspiring all-round performance should be the order of the day.