Misfiring teams search for turnaround
Friday, April 25, 2014
Start time 1430 (1030 GMT, 1600 IST)
Delhi Daredevils will hope the prospective debut of Kevin Pietersen in his new role of globetrotting T20 expert would make half as much an impact as it secures eye balls. His England door remains as shut as ever, though he hasn't let it weigh him down, assuming tweets of comparing notes with David Moyes and Piers Morgan about bad years are accurate measure. A fractured finger has delayed his return to competitive cricket - in which time Daredevils have sustained two limp defeats in three games - but with some training behind him and his team needing a definitive push from the bottom half of the table, the big occasion beckons.
Daredevils wouldn't have much strife fitting their captain into the XI with Nathan Coulter-Nile sidelined with a hamstring injury. As much as Pietersen's availability is a boost, the loss of a potent death bowler might sting badly. With hardly any reserves in the squad, the onus falls on Mohammed Shami to control either end of the bowling innings and Pietersen himself in how well he distributes the workload.
Facing a depleted attack in an afternoon match forms the best opportunity for Sunrisers Hyderabad to post first points. The top three, for all their repute, have been shoddy and the support acts lower down have found recovery out of their depth. There is an argument for spreading Shikhar Dhawan, Aaron Finch and David Warner along the batting order especially considering the Dubai track has played tricks with the batsmen's timing. None of them are as potent outside the opening position, but an experienced hand to guide the latter half of the innings is vital considering wickets have usually tumbled in clumps here.
Watch out for …
Rapid starts are Mayank Agarwal's forte. His penchant for hitting the ball on the up and through the line makes for exciting viewing, but if the opposition is smart and keeps a steady back of a length outside off, he tends to orchestrate his own downfall.
He has been typecast as a new-ball specialist but Bhuvneshwar Kumar has displayed admirable tenacity in the final overs. He's hit the yorkers, he's sneaked in a few slower balls and stifled the batsmen for room and in the process has gone six an over or under so far.
Stats and trivia
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo