The Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting wanted his side to play its best cricket in the second half of IPL 2020. Instead, as the tournament has progressed, the cracks have started to emerge in the Capitals side. Had Ishant Sharma been fit, he would have been taking the new ball. In his absence, the Capitals are yet to finalise their fifth bowler. After impressing in his first outing, Tushar Deshpande has gone for 12 an over in the next three games while picking up only one wicket. Will they go back to Harshal Patel, who is a handy batsman as well?
While Shikhar Dhawan has looked pristine at the top of the order, Prithvi Shaw's form has also been giving them headaches. So much that they had to drop him for their last match, against the Kolkata Knight Riders. However, his replacement, Ajinkya Rahane, was lbw off the first ball of the innings. Will they go back to Shaw?
The positive thing for the Capitals is, with 14 points from 11 games, they already have one foot in the playoffs. The same cannot be said for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Capitals' opponents on Tuesday. With eight points from 11 games, they have somehow managed to remain in the contention for the playoffs. But their road is not easy. They not only need to win their remaining three games - against the top-three teams on the points table - but also require some other results to go their way.
Moreover, they are coming off a morale-crushing defeat in their last match. Chasing 127 against the Kings XI Punjab, they needed 28 from 24 balls with seven wickets in hand. Instead, they suffered a colossal collapse and were all out for 114. Can they script a turnaround?
In the news
- It's not clear if Kane Williamson has recovered from his adductor (thigh) injury. But either way, the Sunrisers are likely to go with Jason Holder, who also bolsters their lower-order batting.
In their earlier game in the tournament, David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Williamson all contributed with the bat to take the Sunrisers to 162 for 4. Rashid Khan then picked up 3 for 14 to restrict the Capitals to 147 for 7 to give the Sunrisers their first win of the season.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Vijay Shankar, 5 Priyam Garg, 6 Abhishek Sharma, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Sandeep Sharma, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 T Natarajan
Delhi Capitals: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Harshal Patel, 8 Axar Patel, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Anrich Nortje
- Shreyas Iyer has been dismissed nine times by legspinners in the IPL since 2019. So, instead of saving Khan for Rishabh Pant, who is a bit out of form, the Sunrisers can bring him on against Iyer. While against legspinners who flight the ball, Iyer has an average of over 50 and a strike rate in excess of 160, against those who bowl quicker, like Khan, he averages just nine at a strike rate of 89.
- Sandeep Sharma too has got the better of Iyer in T20s; he has dismissed him thrice in eight innings. Iyer's strike rate of 72 against Sharma is his lowest against any bowler he has faced for at least 30 balls in T20s.
- Warner has fallen thrice to Kagiso Rabada in nine T20 innings. Against the quick, he has managed only 53 runs from 47 balls at an average of 17.7 and a strike rate of 112.8. Given the Sunrisers' shaky middle order, the Sunrisers rely a lot on their captain. The Capitals may think of giving Rabada an extra over against him.
Stats that matter
- Manish Pandey has a strike rate of 64 against Axar Patel, his lowest against any bowler he has faced for 30 balls from in T20s.
- Rabada is yet to go wicketless this season, his streak now stands at 25 IPL games.
- Pant has scored at a strike rate of 117 so far this season.
- Among spinners, only Yuzvendra Chahal (16) has taken more wickets than Khan (14) this IPL.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo