Struggling Sunrisers Hyderabad will play their first game of the UAE leg of this year’s IPL when they square off against the Delhi Capitals in Dubai on Wednesday. The two teams are at opposite ends of the table- Delhi were leading the IPL when the Indian leg was called off due to the pandemic, while Hyderabad are languishing at the bottom, having managed just one win in their seven games back in April and May.
Both teams enjoyed conditions in the Emirates in the 2020 edition, with Delhi finishing second and the Sunrisers third in that tournament. SRH interestingly won both the regular round robin games between the two sides in the UAE, only for Delhi to come up trumps when it really mattered- the semifinal playoff.
What happened in the last meeting between the two sides?
The game, played in Chennai back in April, ended in a Super Over, with Delhi pulling off a thrilling win. SRH however only had themselves to blame- Jonny Bairstow’s quickfire 18-ball 38 had put them in the drivers’ seat in the chase, only for the middle order to capitulate abjectly, with the likes of Virat Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Abishek Sharma and Vijay Shankar all failing with the bat.
SRH will however have to do without the in-form Bairstow for this game, with the England wicketkeeper not available for the UAE leg. That should mean a return to the first XI for former skipper David Warner, although the team management could alternatively field Jason Roy as a replacement for his England team mate.
Research from Betway suggests that SRH have a mountain to climb- no team at the bottom of the table at this stage of the tournament has ever managed to make the playoffs in the last six editions of the IPL. Delhi, on the other hand, are almost certainties to qualify. 16 points generally happens to be enough to progress, which means Ricky Ponting’s men are just two wins away from all but booking a spot in the knockout stages.
Like SRH, Delhi have also made a captaincy change- Shreyas Iyer was originally supposed to lead the side, but his injury meant Rishabh Pant taking over, and with the team’s excellent run of results in the first leg, the management have chosen to continue with Pant as captain despite Iyer again being available for selection.
Iyer’s return also bolsters the DC middle-order and enables them to play both Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje in the starting XI. The Proteas duo were hugely successful in the 2020 edition in the UAE, bagging over 50 wickets between them as Delhi reached the final. In the Indian leg in 2021, team balance issues and the four foreigners rule meant that they could only go in with the solitary overseas bowler, and that was mostly Rabada.