It comes off as a little surprise that Sunrisers Hyderabad’s opening pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow are the top two players in the Orange Cap list at the moment. In the first three games of the franchise, Warner and Bairstow have stitched a 100-plus run stand for the opening wicket. The duo scored tons each in their previous game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, to help their side to a massive total of 231 runs.
Warner, in three games, has scored 254 runs, while Bairstow has scored 198 runs in as many games. The former has also crossed 50-run mark in all the three games as well. But despite all their prowess, the opening duo will, perhaps, face a stiff test, when they battle against Delhi Capitals on Thursday.
David Warner vs Kagiso Rabada
The last time Warner faced off against South Africa seamer Kagiso Rabada, it was during the controversial Test series last year which led to the left-handed batsman getting banned for twelve months for ball tampering. In his last international appearance, the Aussie was dismissed twice by the fast bowler in a Test match.
Rabada had also come under the scanner in the series, for a brush off against the then, Australia captain, Steve Smith. Rabada was banned for two Tests before the appeal brought him back.
Things have changed over the year – but the rivalry between the two is likely to come to boil once again. With the ban over, Warner would hope that he can continue his form against Rabada, to further close down another chapter on the nightmarish series. Rabada, on the other hand, will look to prove effective against the SRH opener, just like he has been in the past.
If Warner and Bairstow are in supreme form, so is Rabada. The right-armer showed that he can pose problems for in-form batsmen with yorkers. He was held as the man responsible for winning the Super Over against Kolkata Knight Riders last week. If the 22-year-old can stop the run flow from the opening pair, then SRH might find themselves in unfamiliar territory.
With the opening pair doing the bulk of scoring for SRH, their middle and lower batting order has been far from tested. The injury to Kane Williamson has left a huge gap in the middle-order, and with Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Vijay Shankar not getting much time in the middle, the side may struggle if the trio has to come out in the powerplay overs to bat.
While Shankar has shown he can go for big hits and can score runs at a fast pace, he has not shown the ability to settle down the innings for the side. If Warner and Bairstow get out quickly, the allrounder will face the task of doing exactly that.
Death overs woes
Both the teams have their own respective death overs woes. For Hyderabad, the frontline pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has proved to be expensive in the final overs. The pacer gave away 21 runs in the 19th over against Kolkata Knight Riders, which cost his side the match. Against Rajasthan Royals in the next game, the right-armer gave away 21 runs in the final over.
For Delhi, the final few overs have brought their own set of problems. The side failed to score required 6 runs in the final over against KKR, even though they managed to pull off the win in the Super Over. In their last game against Kings XI Punjab, DC lost seven wickets for eight runs in the final three overs to see their side lose a game in a dramatic fashion.
Both the teams will look to improve their performance and fix their respective problems in the death overs, as they face off against each other at Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Shakib Al Hasan, Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill, Ricky Bhui, Shreevats Goswami, Wriddhiman Saha, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Billy Stanlake
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (capt), Colin Munro, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Hanuma Vihari, Colin Ingram, Manjot Kalra, Chris Morris, Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Jalaj Saxena, Rahul Tewatia, Rishabh Pant, Ankush Bains, Sandeep Lamichhane, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Trent Boult, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Nathu Singh and Bandaru Ayyappa