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IPL 2024: Resurgent Delhi Capitals face tough Sunrisers Hyderabad test on return to home (preview)

IANS | April 19, 2024 05:05 PM

NEW DELHI: It seems that Delhi Capitals have just found their groove in IPL 2024, something which deserted them in the initial days of the competition. Back-to-back wins over Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans’ means the side are coming back to their original home ground, Arun Jaitley Stadium, on a confident note.

But sixth-placed resurgent DC have their task cut out straightaway – they will be hosting a tough and marauding Sunrisers Hyderabad outfit, standing in fourth place in the points table on Saturday evening.SRH, the IPL 2016 winners, have created a reputation for posting big totals on the back of blazing starts in power-play, thanks to their bevy of power-hitters.

Saturday’s match also marks Rishabh Pant’s long-awaited return of playing an IPL game at his home ground after 1813 days. The left-handed wicket-keeper’s last IPL match in Delhi was on May 4, 2019. By then, he had become the side’s lead keeper-batter.

His last appearance at the venue came when he was on crutches in his road to recovery after the car crash, and saw DC’s first game of IPL 2023 against Gujarat Titans from the stands. Now Pant returns to Kotla as DC’s captain, and has shown ample signs of slowly returning to his best self in all facets of the game.

With David Warner unavailable due to a finger injury at Ahmedabad, DC had young Jake Fraser-McGurk open the batting and was sparkling in his cameo to continue impressing everyone with his stroke play. With Pant, Abishek Porel, Shai Hope, Tristan Stubbs and Prithvi Shaw (though he fell early in last match), in good nick, it augurs well for DC to have a good batting time at home.

In terms of wickets taken by teams in power-play, DC have picked 13 scalps, which is second-best in the tournament. Khaleel Ahmed has been the side’s leading wicket-taker with ten scalps, five of which have come in power-play.

Kuldeep Yadav has been at his magnificent best after recovering from a groin niggle, while Stubbs, Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel, and Mukesh Kumar have made handy contributions with the ball and DC would need their bowling attack to put their best foot forward again to counter SRH’s rampaging batters.

SRH, on the other hand, have been at their explosive best as a batting unit, especially after bettering their own IPL record of highest-ever score in the tournament by posting 287/3 against the Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

Their opening pair of Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma brought up the 100-run stand in just 7.1 overs, with the former making a sensational 102 off 41 balls. Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram and Abdul Samad, along with young Nitish Kumar Reddy, have ensured that the batting momentum hasn’t suffered a drop after Head and Abhishek set the base for a big total.

Compared to their previous seasons, including being at the bottom of the points table last year, SRH are now reaping the benefits of collecting an ultra-aggressive and fearless batting line-up who hit multiple boundaries in literally every over.

With Pat Cummins turning out to be an efficient leader and finding his groove with the ball, especially with the rest of the bowling line-up having an economy rate beyond 10, SRH are primed to give a tough challenge to Pant and DC, who arrive with the belief to keep their winning run going on return to their original home ground for their second half of IPL 2024.

Squads

Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (c), Prithvi Shaw, David Warner, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Axar Patel, Mukesh Kumar, Mitchell Marsh, Anrich Nortje, Pravin Dubey, Vicky Ostwal, Abishek Porel, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Lalit Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Yash Dhull, Tristan Stubbs, Ricky Bhui, Kumar Kushagra, Rasikh Dar, Jhye Richardson, Sumit Kumar, Shai Hope, Lizaad Williams and Swastik Chhikara.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Pat Cummins (c), Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Aiden Markram, Jaydev Unadkat, Travis Head, Shahbaz Ahmed, Heinrich Klaasen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mayank Markande, T. Natarajan, Umran Malik, Nitish Kumar Reddy, Marco Jansen, Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar, Glenn Phillips, Sanvir Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Anmolpreet Singh, Upendra Yadav, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Akash Singh, Jhathavedh Subramanyan.

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