Dale Steyn tries photography after a practice session in Dubai. KT photo by Shihab
Delhi Daredevils will pin their hopes on the likely return of skipper Kevin Pietersen when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in a Pepsi IPL 2014 match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Pietersen, who missed the first three matches due to a finger injury, was hopeful to play against Hyderabad today.
“I’m going to hopefully be back in the next game after I train well for a week. I have trained a couple of days, but it hasn’t been an ideal start going into this tournament. I had good practice for a couple of weeks in London, but then hurt myself and have had three weeks off. I just need another good week of training and then I’ll be back,” Pietersen told the official IPL website after his team were thrashed by Chennai Super Kings in their third match. Delhi, who lost their opening game against Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight wickets, hit back in style by clinching a four-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai.
The likely return of Pietersen would boost Delhi’s batting line-up but at the same time Nathan Coulter-Nile’s hamstring injury could hit their bowling plans.
The Delhi batsmen are yet to make a big impact, with the exception of JP Duminy, who leads the table with 134 runs from three games. Although Ross Taylor scored an unconvincing 43 against Bangalore in Sharjah, the New Zealand batsman struggled to make and impact in the other two matches. Dinesh Karthik, who led the side during Pietersen’s absence, had one good outing against Kolkata.
On the other hand, Hyderabad, who reached the playoffs in their inaugural season itself, haven’t yet fired this season and lost both their games so far.
The failure of some of their top batsmen including captain Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner and Aaron Finch, adversely affected their chances in the tournament.
While Hyderabad bowlers fought well despite losing against Rajasthan Royals by four wickets in Abu Dhabi, the team suffered an agonising 72-run defeat against the in-form Kings XI Punjab at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.On the bowling front both Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have operated good spells for Sunrisers. Though Amit Mishra proved expensive, especially in the match against Punjab, the spinner had claimed four wickets from two matches. Kumar also picked up four wickets, while Steyn had only two scalps so far.
Sunrisers have the bowling arsenal to restrict the opposition, but their batsmen need to put up an improved performance if they want to register their first victory in the eight-team tourney.
Mohammed Shami, with three wickets, Jaidev Unadkat (4) and Shahbaz Nadeem (2) are the leading Delhi bowlers and the trio face a tough task against Delhi, especially considering the absence of Coulter-Nile.
The Pope is said to be recovering from a lung inflammation
The all-rounder hammered an unbeaten 104 off 48 balls to secure a five-wicket victory for Australia