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The Preview by Devashish Fuloria
May 3, 2013
Match factsSaturday, May 4, 2013
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Sunrisers Hyderabad are among the four teams who are closer to achieving the magic number of nine wins - Chennai Super Kings having already touched the marker - to qualify for the playoffs, assuming there are no major upheavals. They need at least three more wins out of their remaining six matches, four of which are to be played in Hyderabad, their fortress. They take on a resurgent Delhi Daredevils side, the captain of which had his smile restored after consecutive wins in Raipur.
Daredevils' campaign is under life-support - they need six wins in six matches - but every extra breath they draw will be at the expense of others, a fact Sunrisers need to be wary of. Daredevils have a strong pool of impact players; the same group took them to No. 1 in the points table last year. David Warner has been the best of them all this year - with four half-centuries - and has been pushed down from his usual top-three batting spot to lend some stability to a fragile middle order. Their bowling is pace-heavy, but slightly more dependable than their batting. Now if only Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene - the only other two batsmen to have scored half-centuries for Daredevils this season - can raise their games against arguably the most well-rounded bowling attack, Daredevils can continue to smile.
The pitch in Hyderabad is on the slower side and offered generous turn to the spinners in the last match. It also helps the faster bowlers because the batsmen find it difficult to hit through the line. The pace-bowling spearheads of both teams have a similar make-up - Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma against Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav - but there is a wide gulf otherwise. Amit Mishra, Karan Sharma and Thisara Perera have tasted success this season. If Shahbaz Nadeem, Irfan Pathan and Ashish Nehra are able to adjust to the conditions, another tight contest can be expected.
Watch out for...
73*, 0, 63*, 187, 63, 0, 110, are Shikhar Dhawan's most recent scores. Dhawan also accumulated 969 runs in the last two editions of the IPL without getting noticed. That one innings against Australia, however, has propelled him to the spotlight and he is reveling in it. His shots are the same, but they now create a flutter, his name crops up frequently in post-match presentations and his Poirot-esque moustache adds weight to his on-field persona. That swagger has translated into two unbeaten half-centuries in three innings this IPL, taking his tally to 15 half-centuries in the tournament - 10 more than Yuvraj Singh.
Umesh Yadav and Morne Morkel are Daredevils' antidote to Steyn and Ishant. They hunted as a pair last season, picking up 19 and 25 wickets respectively. This year, Yadav is the top wicket-taker for Daredevils, but Morkel hasn't had the same impact - he has six wickets against Yadav's 13. Morkel has leaked runs too; his economy rate is 8.41 this year while it was 7.19 last year. If he can find his form - the signs of which he showed in his last match - Sunrisers could get a taste of their own medicine.
Stats and trivia
"Now we are playing winning and entertaining cricket. You never know what can happen with that - we can even sneak into the playoffs through the back door."
Delhi Daredevils fast bowler Morne Morkel
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough