IPL 2021: Rock-bottom Hyderabad start daunting second-leg vs Delhi
- Delhi Capital are joint-top of the IPL points table, with 12 points from 8 games
- SRH have won just one of their seven matches so far
- Kane Williamson replaced David Warner as SRH captain in May
Rock-bottom of the league after the worst start to an Indian Premier League (IPL) season, the Sunrisers Hyderabad will look to salvage some pride when they take on high-flying Delhi Capitals, bolstered by the return of Shreyas Iyer, at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday.
A change in leadership, after SRH lost five out of their first six games this season, did not work as planned on Kane Williamson’s first outing as captain, as the Hyderabad outfit lost by 55 runs against Rajasthan Royals in their final game before the league’s suspension in May.
But there may be a slim chance of sneaking into the top four positions if Williamson, who is the New Zealand skipper in all formats, can inspire his troops to a run of wins in the coming weeks. Also, memories from their torrid time back in the subcontinent might not be as fresh given the four-month gap since their last game, and the team can regroup and restart with a fresh initiative.
But it’s a tough ask to expect the team to win at least five or six out of their seven remaining games, the first of which comes against the Capitals, last season’s finalists. Under Rishabh Pant’s captaincy, the team won six out of their eight matches before the suspension and will start the second leg behind Chennai Super Kings only on net run rate.
And they boast of enough power hitters to take any side to the cleaners. Opening pair Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw are among the top five run-getters this season, with the former tied in the race for the Orange Cap with 380 runs from eight innings, averaging 54.28.
Their middle order is packed with explosive batsmen in Shreyas Iyer, skipper Rishabh Pant (213 runs), Australians Steve Smith (104 runs) and Marcus Stoinis (71 runs) and Shimron Hetmyer (84 runs).
Iyer will be looking to make on lost time, having missed the first half of the season with a shoulder injury sustained in March.
Their bowling department is spearheaded by the South African duo of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, who have so far been outperformed by Avesh Khan, who has 14 wickets so far this season, fewer than only Harshal Patel.
SRH will need some strong performances from their overseas stars who will miss the hard-hitting abilities of Jonny Bairstow. David Warner will have to put his early season struggles behind him and shoulder most the scoring responsibilities.
The likes of Williamson, Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Kedar Jadhav, Abdul Samad and Vijay Shankar, will also need to step up and contribute. Their bowlers, led by Afghanistan star Rashid Khan, also will have to put up a disciplined show to contain Delhi when they meet on Wednesday.