IPL 2022: Mouthwatering clash on the cards between Titans and Sunrisers

Whoever wins will take a giant step towards a place in the playoffs, writes Ayaz Memon

By Ayaz Memon

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Sunrisers Hyderabad have won five matches on the trot after losing the first two matches. (BCCI)
Sunrisers Hyderabad have won five matches on the trot after losing the first two matches. (BCCI)

Published: Wed 27 Apr 2022, 12:08 AM

With five emphatic wins on the trot, Sunrisers Hyderabad have made a strong claim to be in the playoffs. Such thought would have been scoffed at in the first week of the tournament when the Hyderabad team looked beleaguered and mediocre.

But since then, they have put every team they’ve played to the sword, with many experts even picking them as the tournament’s best side so far.

We will get an answer to that question tonight when they take on table-toppers Gujarat Titans.

So far, the Titans have lost only one match. The fact that this was against SRH is significant. On one hand, memories of that triumph will be a source of self-belief tonight.

The Sunrisers have a formidable pace attack. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Marco Jansen, T Natarajan and Umran Malik make the most potent and varied pace bowling quartet in the tournament. Bhuvneshwar’s a maestro of swing, seam and cut. Natarajan and Jansen have similar skills too and bowl left-handed to complement Bhuvneshwar. Both are also niggardly, choking runs with their ability to bowl yorkers at will.

The headline grabber, of course, has been Malik. With his sizzling 150-kmph thunderbolts, the 20-year-old fast bowler has rattled the best batters, among them is Hardik Pandya who got hit on the helmet with a short delivery in the first match between these teams.

The absence of a high quality spinner, apart from Washington Sundar, who has missed a couple of matches because of injury, is the drawback.

It would be remiss not to acknowledge SRH’s batting in this hot streak of five successive wins.

Abhishek Sharma has come into his own as a free-stroking, flamboyant opener. Rahul Tripathi’s intrepidity and range of improvisation have been spectacular. More importantly, overseas recruits Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran have also clicked, giving the SRH batting both muscle and momentum. Markram’s off spin has also come in handy.

Williamson’s form has been somewhat underwhelming, but he’s been absolutely marvelous in his captaincy, especially in handling the quick bowlers and generally maintaining a sense of calm and focus on the field.

The Gujarat Titans’ virtues are more or less similar: a well-balanced side, strong in batting (Matthew Wade, Shubman Gill, Pandya, David Miller) as well as bowling (Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Rashid Khan, Pandya). They have been led ably by Pandya, who is enjoying his best phase in cricket after more than two years.

Pandya has played decisive roles with bat and ball in many matches, inspiring others to rise to the occasion when the situation demands.

On current form, both teams take the field as equals. Whoever wins will take a giant step towards a place in the playoffs.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator

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