Hyderabad set to debut in new avatar
Match factsFriday, April 5, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
After the top two teams of last year's points table kicked-off the carnival on Wednesday, the bottom two will meet in Hyderabad on Friday. While the host city has a new team - Sunrisers Hyderabad - led by the same captain Kumar Sangakkara, Pune Warriors have a new captain - Angelo Mathews - after Michael Clarke was ruled out of the entire season.
Sunrisers will feel the absence of an in-from Shikhar Dhawan, who was Deccan Chargers' leading run-scorer last season. After retaining 20 players from the Chargers, Sunrisers revamped their leadership, bringing together Tom Moody and Sangakkara, who had worked together as coach and captain for Sri Lanka. They also have overseas pace options in Dale Steyn and Clint McKay, and allrounders Darren Sammy and Thisara Perera, but only Steyn picks himself.
Warriors had an unsettled team last year and the addition Ajantha Mendis, Ross Taylor, Abhishek Nayar, and the return of Yuvraj Singh, will bolster their prospects. Steve Smith is more a batsman than allrounder these days and Warriors will be tempted to include Clarke's replacement, Aaron Finch, who scored two fifties and a hundred against England Lions recently. With Marlon Samuels, Luke Wright, Wayne Parnell also in the squad, a right balance might not be easy to find.
Players to watch
Kumar Sangakkara scored 48, 63, 139, 55, 142, 105 and 58 in the recent ODIs and Tests against Bangladesh. He will now have to score in the shortest format against compatriots Ajantha Mendis and Mathews, among others. His captaincy will also be under the spotlight, because he led Chargers to only four wins last season.
Yuvraj Singh scored consecutive fifties in the Deodhar Trophy and took 3 for 39 and 3 for 19 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, so his recent form has been promising. With captaincy off his shoulders, and having missed all of 2012, he will want to score more than the two fifties he scored in 2011.
Stats and trivia
- Warriors won only four out of their 16 matches last season
- Warriors did not have a single bowler in the top-20 wicket-takers last season. Ashish Nehra, now with Delhi Daredevils, took 11 wickets for them and was in 26th place. Their leading run-scorer, Robin Uthappa, was 12th with 405 runs.
"I am not looking far ahead. I am not looking at the semi-finals or anything like that. I just want to concentrate on every game, and on what we do in every game."
Allan Donald, the Warriors coach.
"We have got replacements who are probably good enough to do the job and we are excited to give that opportunity to a younger guy."
Sunrisers captain Kumar Sangakkara believes his team has replacements for injured players, such as Shikhar Dhawan.
Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo