IPL 2022: Sunrisers' bowling attack faces big test against Capitals

What SRH pace bowlers have learnt from the previous defeat will be the key to their success, writes Ayaz Memon

Sunrisers Hyderabad fast bowler Umran Malik. (BCCI)
Sunrisers Hyderabad fast bowler Umran Malik. (BCCI)

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Thu 5 May 2022, 12:39 AM

Having played the same number of matches (9), Sunrisers Hyderabad are ahead of Delhi Capitals by two points, but that does not necessarily give them a psychological advantage in tonight’s clash. While both teams lost their previous matches, the margin and manner of SRH’s defeat, beaten by a revitalised Chennai Super Kings who were otherwise struggling near the bottom of the table, may, in fact, work to DC’s advantage.

Delhi, who lost narrowly to front-runners Lucknow Super Giants, would have seen how CSK openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway blunted SRH’s pace quartet with a frontal assault and will look to borrow a leaf from the same playbook.

They have the batsmen to do this for sure. Prithvi Shaw, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Rishabh Pant make for possibly the most intimidating top-order in the tournament, capable of destroying any attack. Also, they have the big-hitting West Indian Rovman Powell, all-rounders Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav and Shardul Thakur in their formidable lower middle-order.

Moreover, Warner, who was dumped by SRH last year despite being their talismanic player for several seasons, will have a point to prove.

However, DC’s batting can be mercurial too which has contributed to some of the defeats. While aggressive methods are the staple of T20 cricket, the case for major batsmen showing consistency is equally strong. DC have been guilty sometimes of compromising on the second attribute for the first.

Nonetheless, the contest between SRH’s wonderful and varied pace attack and DC’s flamboyant top-order whets the appetite.

Against CSK, on a featherbed, SRH’s pacers flopped badly. Conditions are unlikely to be very different tonight, so what can Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Marco Jansen and the red-hot Umran Malik do to quell DC’s challenge?

With so much data available now, players, captains and coaches have to constantly keep adjusting and improvising to be a step ahead of the opponents.

What Kane Williamson and SRH’s pace bowlers have learnt from the previous defeat and how they adjust lines and lengths will be the key to their success.

There will be pressure on the SRH batting too. The top-order looks in good form, but with a longish tail, it is imperative that two, if not three, batsmen make substantial contributions.

Against CSK, Rahul Tripathi’s first ball dismissal hurt badly. Abhishek Sharma, Williamson, Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran have all made runs, but not enough to win the day.

Williamson have been marvellous in his captaincy, but he needs to step up a notch as a batsman. He’s got starts in most matches but hasn’t been able to deliver match-winning knocks as yet.

While DC don’t poses a deadly pace attack like SRH, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya and Shardul make for a skilful trio. The bigger threat will likely come from spinners Axar and particularly Kuldeep. The left-arm wrist spinner has been in his element, having picked up 17 wickets already. He is second only to Rajasthan Royals’ Yuzvendra Chahal on the list of highest wicket-takers this season.

Against LSG, Kuldeep went wicketless, but against his former team KKR before that, he was magnificent, claiming 4-14.

After a five-match winning streak, SRH have lost two matches on the trot. Delhi have lost three of their last five matches.

With the Punjab Kings reigniting their campaign after Tuesday’s resounding win over the Gujarat Titans, both these teams need a win badly to strengthen their prospects of making the playoffs.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator

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