Sunrisers Hyderabad eyes a big win over Pune

In the decisive phase of the IPL, defending champion, Sunrisers Hyderabad, can be in a spot of bother when it takes on Rising Pune Supergiant, which is on a high, at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here in a day game on Saturday.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has always been exceptional with good support from Siddarth Kaul and the fast-improving Md Siraj with the new ball.   -  R. V. Moorthy

 

In the decisive phase of the IPL, defending champion, Sunrisers Hyderabad, can be in a spot of bother when it takes on Rising Pune Supergiant, which is on a high, at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here in a day game on Saturday.

For a team which takes pride in its varied bowling attack, the fifth bowling option on Saturday can be dicey. SRH captain David Warner may be concerned with the non-availability of Bangladesh left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman who joined his national team. Though Moises Henriques is proving to be good with the bat it was obvious that SRH lacked the other night against Delhi in an away game was a bowler who can plug the run-flow in the middle-overs and get the desired breakthroughs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has always been exceptional with good support from Siddarth Kaul and the fast-improving Md Siraj with the new ball. But it is the fifth bowler’s slot which might just pose serious problems if Mustafizur doesn’t figure in the scheme of things.

Thankfully, Afghan leggie Rashid Khan has been the pick of the bowlers in middle-overs. Equations change quickly in the space of a couple of days in this format as is evident by the way Pune notched up six wins from its last seven games to move to third place (14 points from 11 games) and Sunrisers slipping to fourth place (13 from 11 games).

And, there is no doubting that the home team desperately needs a win against Steve Smith-led Pune to stay in the hunt for a slot in the play-offs.

With batting line-up looking really assured and formidable with the likes of Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Yuvraj Singh coming good in one game or the other consistently. Yet, SRH fortunes revolve around Warner’s brilliance at the top for he can make a mockery of the best of the bowling attacks on his day.

On the other hand, a star-studded Pune line-up, a soft-spoken opener Rahul Tripathi, partnering the classy Ajinkya Rahane, has been largely successful in putting in the shade some of the bigger names in a line-up which has explosive batsmen like the captain Smith himself, Ben Stokes and M.S. Dhoni down the order who are capable of destroying any attack on their day.

It is in bowling, Pune looks vulnerable despite South African leggie Imran Tahir being very successful so far and pacer Jaydev Unadkat bowling much better now with a three-wicket haul in the previous game.

Given the business-end of the League, it should be a high-voltage contest between two teams hungry to win the race for the play-offs.

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