In-form Sunrisers looks to pile misery on RPS

The image of the normally cool Dhoni remonstrating with the umpire over a 'wide' decision during the game against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday night could well be a reminder that he is feeling the heat after the huge disappointments so far.

SRH captain David Warner’s dazzling form with the bat and the manner in which his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan is slowly but surely regaining his striking ability are quite ominous signs for any opposition.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has never had it so tough in the IPL, losing four consecutive games as captain in this season with his new franchise Rising Pune Supergiants. And, the image of the normally cool Dhoni remonstrating with the umpire over a 'wide' decision during the game against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday night could well be a reminder that he is feeling the heat after the huge disappointments so far.

Dhoni will need a complete turn-around in the team’s fortunes to stay in contention for the play-offs when his team takes on a buoyant Sunrisers Hyderabad under lights on Tuesday.

It is not going to be easy for the Supergiants against the home team high on confidence. SRH captain David Warner’s dazzling form with the bat and the manner in which his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan is slowly but surely regaining his striking ability are quite ominous signs for any opposition and there is always the striking prowess of the likes of Moises Henriques, Eoin Morgan and Naman Ojha to back the in-form openers.

Significantly, Dhoni commented after the loss to KKR the other night that the team has to improve in many areas, especially in the bowling department. “You (spinners) never bowl up to the batsmen, have to vary the line and speed. There is pressure on individuals and some of them are backing off,” he remarked. He is aware that the bowlers are struggling because they are not “part of a settled team.”

Like Warner said the other day, for any team one big stand at the top could well be the decisive factor.

So, for Supergiants, the onus is on the in-form Ajinkya Rahane and Faf du Plessis to set the stage for the likes of Australian captain Steve Smith, Thisara Perera and Dhoni himself to get cracking and help team post challenging totals. Invariably, it is falling short by 20-30 runs and that is proving to be very costly.

On the other hand, SRH seems to have found the winning combination and is getting everything right after the first-game loss. This can be attributed to Warner leading from the front. His early assault, especially when chasing, have made the task much simpler.

But what makes SRH formidable is the variety in bowling which includes the miserly swing merchant Bhuvneshwar Kumar, left-armers Barinder Sran and Mustafizur Rahman, with the last named now holding the IPL record of bowling nine consecutive dot balls besides taking a wicket. The Bangladeshi seems to be at his best in this IPL as the batsmen are struggling to get his yorkers and off-cutters away. He returned stunning figures of 4-1-9-2 against Kings XI Punjab in the last game here.

With SRH clearly keen to sustain the winning momentum with three wins from five games and Supergiants trying its best to stem the rot (four consecutive losses), it should be an exciting contest.

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