Sunrisers Hyderabad hit the nets early on a bright and sunny Friday afternoon as it hosts Lucknow Super Giants in a crucial IPL encounter at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Saturday.
The race for playoffs has begun and the Krunal Pandya-led side finds itself in a must-win encounter against Sunrisers, who are lying low at the ninth position in the points table. Super Giants, stationed at the fifth spot, still have a chance to qualify for the knockouts, having won five and losing an equal number of matches with 11 points on the board.
There was a bit of camaraderie between the two sides as the Super Giants team entered the field. But soon both teams moved to their designated practice arenas and went through intense catching and batting drills with the groundsmen working on the main square with a light roller.
Super Giants will hope the likes of Kyle Mayers and Quinton de Kock continue their fine form. The openers blazed away last game against Gujarat Titans, stitching an 88-run stand, with de Kock scoring a sublime half-century. However, the form of Deepak Hooda has been a concern, with the right-hander failing to make an impact with the bat.
While Ayush Badoni has been a rising star for Super Giants, overseas players like Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran have blown hot and cold this season. Even skipper Krunal is struggling to make an impact with the bat and Lucknow would hope he bounces back.
The win against Rajasthan Royals has certainly boosted Sunrisers’ confidence, but the batting order would seek consistency in the remaining games. Abhishek Sharma’s promotion up the order has worked for Hyderabad and the opener was supported well by Anmolpreet Singh and Rahul Tripathi.
The rest of the batters have clicked in patches, including skipper Aiden Markram, and this is where the home side would eye to make amends. The Sunrisers bowling unit has largely been successful in containing the opposition batters and will look to bounce back after having an off day against Royals.
When both sides met earlier this season, Super Giants strangled Sunrisers in a low-scoring encounter, on a slow Ekana pitch, with Krunal picking a three-wicket haul. The Super Giants skipper will aim to lead his side from the front in a must-win tie to stay alive in the tournament.
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