Warner’s side is playing its best cricket at the back-end of the tournament, winning four in a row; Shreyas’ men need to turn things around after the heavy MI loss
Delhi Capitals will need to regroup quickly from the crushing defeat to Mumbai Indians as the red-hot Sunrisers Hyderabad come calling in Sunday’s second qualifier at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
DC, which appeared to have turned a corner by snapping a four-match losing streak, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, was battered by MI into submission. SRH, on the other hand, is on a four-match winning run and appears hungry for more.
It will be interesting to observe the extent to which DC skipper Shreyas Iyer and head coach Ricky Ponting can motivate the team. Shreyas’ recent form is a cause for worry and the brittle top-order has left him with very little room for error. Prithvi Shaw will be fortunate to get another game, following six single-digit scores in the last seven outings.
Of late, sides are seemingly turning towards collective decision-making and DC’s will be severely tested on Sunday. In the last four matches, it has won the toss, DC has opted to bowl every time, only to concede in excess of 190 thrice and then wilt under scoreboard pressure. One of these was against SRH when the latter racked up 219.
R. Ashwin’s bowling has been a bright spot, especially against MI, when he returned figures of 4-0-29-3. Despite struggling with an injury, he sent back Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, and Kieron Pollard, even as four other frontline bowlers, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje included, went for 163 runs from 15 overs and picked up just one wicket.
Should Ashwin be ruled fit, the ace off-spinners match-up against Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson will make for fascinating viewing. But before that, DC will have to keep the explosive David Warner quiet. Fellow opener Wriddhiman Saha, who has scored 214 runs from four games at a strike-rate of 139.86, missed the Eliminator against RCB and remains a doubt.
While the bowling trio of Sandeep Sharma, T. Natarajan and Rashid Khan continues to impress, Jason Holder, the world’s top-ranked Test all-rounder, has been outstanding of late. The West Indian has picked up seven wickets in the previous three games at an economy rate under 6.5 and played match-winning knocks from No. 6 in two recent chases.
It even prompted the calm and collected Williamson to describe Holder as “cooler than me”. If the two-Test captains can help their side keep their heads again, the right to play MI in the final will be SRH’s.