The stakes could not be higher. A win on Thursday will put Sunrisers Hyderabad in the playoffs, and a loss will throw Delhi Daredevils out of the tournament, but wait, there's more.
Imagine Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the top of his mark. At the top of his game. One of the best bowlers in limited-overs cricket. And at the other end, an 18-year old, with scant international experience, but bursting with so much talent that he is already being compared to Sachin Tendulkar.
We've been here before, of course. Prithvi Shaw scored 65 off 36 balls against Sunrisers on Saturday. Clearly, the battle between the next generation of Indian batsmen - Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant included - and some of T20 cricket's finest bowlers - Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan - is just so nice, you gotta see it twice, along with the bells and whistles of promotion and relegation.
In the news
Among Daredevils' overseas batsmen, Jason Roy has scored 97 from three innings (including a 91*), Glenn Maxwell 133 from nine innings and Colin Munro 63 from five. Maxwell, however, has picked wickets in three of his last four games, and even bowled a Powerplay over for just four runs against Sunrisers. Given the drought of runs, Daredevils have started using two overseas slots for bowlers - Liam Plunkett and Trent Boult - apart from Dan Christian and could do the same on Thursday by picking only one of the above three batsmen. But who?
Sunrisers just about chased 164, with Yusuf Pathan proving man has more lives than a cat. Should have been out on 0, but the catch was dropped. Was given out on 8 and seemed happy to walk off until his captain stopped him and demanded he use DRS. After the lbw decision was overturned, he walloped a full toss straight down the ground to all but seal the game. It was glorious, and hilarious.
Delhi Daredevils: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Jason Roy/Colin Munro/Glenn Maxwell, 3 Rishabh Pant (wk), 4 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 5 Naman Ojha, 6 Dan Christian, 7 Vijay Shankar, 8 Liam Plunket, 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Avesh Khan, 11 Trent Boult
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Siddarth Kaul, 11 Sandeep Sharma
Shakib Al Hasan (54.5), Alex Hales (69.2), Yusuf Pathan (83.3), Manish Pandey (105.4) and Shikhar Dhawan (113.6) have struggled against legspin this IPL. Amit Mishra might have a lot of fun on Thursday.
Stats that matter
Shreyas Iyer against fast bowling in the IPL presents a pretty cool story. In 2015, he made 296 runs off 239 balls at an average of 29. In 2016, 28 runs off 41 balls at 4.6. In 2017, 238 runs in 171 balls at 26. In 2018, while vying to be an India player, he has made 191 runs in 134 balls at an average of 63.
Siddarth Kaul has an economy rate of 6.47 in the death overs this season: better than Andrew Tye (7.72), Rashid Khan (8), Jasprit Bumrah (8.22), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (8.22), Tim Southee (8.40), Mustafizur Rahman (8.94), Jofra Archer (9.50). On condition of at least five overs bowled between the 16th and 20th, Kaul stands behind only Piyush Chawla (6) and Liam Plunket (6.40)
In IPL 2018, Prithvi Shaw has a strike rate of 168.88 in the first 10 balls. Only KL Rahul and Sunil Narine have been quicker off the blocks (minimum 50 deliveries faced). Prior to Shaw's inclusion in the XI, Daredevils scored at a rate of 8.07 in the Powerplay, which left them in sixth place out of eight teams. Now, they are second, with a run rate of 9.53
In defending totals of 118, 132, 151 and 146, Sunrisers have established the benchmark in bowling second. Their economy rate of 6.23 is unrivalled, with Rajasthan Royals (8.5) coming a distant second. So is their balls-per-boundary rate: 9.4 versus a second-best of 6 by Kings XI.
Rishabh Pant needs 43 runs to get to 1000 IPL runs. At 20, he will become the youngest player to the landmark
Sunrisers have banked on their overseas players for big runs - they have contributed 50.2% of their aggregate this season. Daredevils' corresponding figure is 23.2%. So, basically, trust Kane Williamson and Shakib Al Hasan. Keep a safe distance from Glenn Maxwell.