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Scratchy Sunrisers aim to get campaign on track against lackluster Delhi

article_imageTACTICAL PREVIEW
Last updated on 23 Apr 2023 | 11:22 AM
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Scratchy Sunrisers aim to get campaign on track against lackluster Delhi

While the Capitals managed a hard-fought win against Knight Riders, the Orange Army were comprehensively outclassed in the last two outings

It has taken Delhi Capitals nearly three weeks and six matches into the Indian Premier League to get their first win of the tournament. They stumbled in a modest run chase of 128 before finally getting over the line with four wickets to spare. 

"I think for any team chasing 128 is quite a low total, and there can be a little bit of nerves. After 0-5 in the five games, these games are sometimes hard to win," an honest David Warner said in the post-match presentation. 

The skipper of the Capitals pretty much summed up the mood and the morale of the side, especially the batting unit after a low-scoring thriller at home that helped them get off the mark in the points table. 

With two points in the kitty, the Capitals will aim to get another win and gain some momentum in the competition. However, that will be challenging as they will be up against Aiden Markram and his men, who will look to turn their fortunes around after a stop-start tournament. 

It may be the battle of two teams languishing at the bottom of the points table, but it will not be a mundane Monday because there is plenty of fire in store for us from these two teams trying to climb up the ladder. 

Things to watch out for

Can Delhi's middle order stand up, please?

One of the significant reasons behind Delhi's run in the tournament is the lack of runs from the middle order. There ain't any doubt that Delhi have depth in their batting unit, which goes down to number nine, but it has failed to translate into performances for them in the six games. 

Barring skipper Warner, the Capitals have struggled to get going, especially the middle order (4-7), as they have lost a wicket every 15.9 deliveries, which is the worst by any team this season. 

While the Capitals have chopped and changed their middle order in the six games, the onus will now rely heavily on Phil Salt, Manish Pandey and Axar Patel to consolidate the innings and help the team post a formidable first innings total or chase down a stiff target. 

Onus on Warner, yet again!

In the six games, Delhi Capitals have literally been a one-man army as Warner has amassed 285 runs at an average of 47.5 and a strike rate of 120.8, with Axar being the second leading run-scorer of the side with 148 runs at an average of 29.6. 

While there have been question marks over the strike rate at which the southpaw has operated in the league, he believes that it is down to taking responsibility for the side as the reason behind his sedate start. 

"There are critics out there suggesting that I have not been batting the way I normally do, but when you lose three wickets in two overs, you can't really do anything."

"You must have some sense of responsibility, which is just the game. It is about backing yourself and executing your skills," he said after the Capitals huffed and puffed to a modest total of 128. 

The 36-year-old will be itching to regain his blistering touch against an opponent he has enjoyed a decent run in the extravaganza. The southpaw has smashed 839 runs in 21 innings at an average of 44.16 and a strike rate of 161, the best for him against an opponent with a minimum of 200 runs in the tournament. 

Washington Sundar's dismal start

The Orange Army has struggled in the competition, with their spinners failing to create inroads, mainly due to the dismal performance of Washington Sundar

The off-spinner has bowled 13.4 overs this season and failed to pick up a wicket, the most overs by a bowler without a dismissal. With the bat, he has managed only 36 runs in four innings at an average of nine, resulting in question marks over his position in the playing XI. 

While the team's head coach, Brian Lara backed him to come good and become a great all-rounder but insisted the team management would not press the panic button yet in the competition. 

"With Washington, we want him to be that great all-rounder with both bat and ball, but it will take time. Pressing the button and saying that this kid has potential, let's get him up the batting order that's pressing the panic button," Lara said. 

Washington lives to play another day, and Sunrisers would hope the 23-year-old comes good in the upcoming fixtures. 

Pitch & conditions

Over the years, the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad has been known to be a batting paradise, with the average score at this venue around the 170-run mark and the average winning score being 198 runs. 

Fast bowlers have been more effective at this venue and scalped 24 wickets out of the 36 dismissals, which is around 64.5 percent compared to 12 wickets by the spinners. 

The square boundaries are relatively smaller, and we can expect the batters to enjoy the conditions and smash a lot of boundaries and sixes that will ensure a lot of entertainment for the fans.

Tactical nous

The onus of the Sunrisers' batting unit will rely on Rahul Tripathi at the top. However, he has a poor record against left-arm spinners in the tournament and has been dismissed 11 times in 26 innings and has an average of 15.7, the worst for him against a bowling type. 

Warner would look to bring in his ace spinner, Axar Patel, as soon as Tripathi walks in to challenge him early in the innings. 

With the batting unit of Delhi in disarray, Warner would hope for some valuable contributions from Mitchell Marsh at the top. However, the right-handed batter needs to be wary of the off-spin threat possessed by Markram and Sundar. 

The Australian all-rounder has been dismissed thrice in 35 deliveries in the IPL against off-spinners and has an average of 11.7, the lowest for him against a bowling type. 

Team combination

Despite losing two successive games, the Sunrisers would continue to back the same set of players to get the job done and will most likely field an unchanged XI.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Harry Brook, Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Washington Sundar, Marco Jansen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mayank Markande, Umran Malik.

The visiting side will hope for Prithvi Shaw to come good in this clash and will likely stick with him as the impact substitute, depending on the toss. 

Delhi Capitals: David Warner (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Philip Salt (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Mukesh Kumar

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