Daredevils’ lone win in three matches against Kolkata Knight Riders was the result of a brilliant individual effort from JP Duminy in a stiff chase. But without their regular captain, Delhi have looked rudderless in all three matches so far. The good news is that Kevin Pietersen has recovered from his finger injury and is expected to play against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday. The Hyderabad outfit, currently, bottom of the table, are looking for their first win.
Much awaited return
Before the start of the tournament, Pietersen said he had nothing to prove during the IPL. But with ECB managing director Paul Downton openly criticising the middle-order batsman’s “disengagement”, while appointing Peter Moores as Andy Flower’s successor, Pietersen might have a point or two prove to his critics. However, the 33-year-old has barely played any cricket after the 5-0 Ashes loss in January this year and could be rusty.
Batting woes for SRH
Hyderabad have struggled badly in both their matches. A total of 133 for six against Rajasthan Royals followed by 121 all out in 19.2 overs against Kings XI Punjab on a good wicket highlighted their batting woes. With all three of Aaron Finch, Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner occupying the top three slots, the batting is top heavy. Dhawan, who more or less carried the side’s batting on his shoulders last season, has also had an underwhelming start and that has affected the side.
Onus on Vijay
Delhi parted company with Virender Sehwag this season because they decided to invest in Murali Vijay. But the opener, who had enjoyed several successful seasons with Chennai in the IPL, has so far has failed to inspire confidence with scores of 18, 0 and 11. Against Dale Steyn and co, a good start is imperative and the new signing will have to play his part in dealing with a strong bowling attack.
Winless Mumbai face CSK
It’s a rerun on the last year’s final in which Mumbai Indians triumphed but things have changed since. Chennai Super Kings started off with a loss, but have since managed back to back wins while defending champions Mumbai are surprisingly sitting joint-bottom, with no wins from two games.
Two major names have traded jersies and will come face to face in this fixture — Dwayne Smith went from Mumbai to Chennai while Michael Hussey has gone the other way around. While Smith is second in the run-scorer’s list after 10 games of this IPL, while the Australian’s transition hasn’t been smooth so far.
Hussey had been an integral part of Chennai’s campaign in the last six editions. On Friday, however, Hussey will turn up against the serial winners. The Australian southpaw hasn’t really clicked for Mumbai in two games so far, making a 13-ball 3 against KKR and a 15-ball 16 against RCB.
There have been several things that haven’t clicked for Mumbai so far, but if they can get off to a sedate start, the kind Hussey can provide, the turn around can’t be too far.
Ashwin vs Harbhajan
His spin-bowling partner Pragyan Ojha has failed to impress with nothing to show in the wickets column and a high economy rate of 9.12.
Chennai Super Kings gave a master-class in using their slow bowlers to defend a low target against Rajasthan in their last game, and certainly have the form-spinners in their corner ahead of the big game.