Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Delhi Daredevils have had two shaky starts to the Indian Premier League this year but have at least managed a win. The two sides meet on Friday for what should be an interesting clash.
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Date: Friday, 25 April
Start time: 11:30 p.m. BST/2:30 p.m. local time
Live on: Sony Six, Star Sports HD, Star Sports 1 (India), ITV4 (United Kingdom), SuperSport (South Africa), OSN (UAE) SkyTV (New Zealand), Network Ten (Australia), Channel 9 (Bangladesh), Sportsnet and Omni(Canada), Sports Max (West Indies), Geo Super (Pakistan), Starhub(Singapore).
Weather: AccuWeather predicts another scorcher. Temperatures of up to 35 degrees await the players when they step out to the middle on Friday. The only solace is that the humidity will be relatively low.
Despite having a relatively good squad at their disposal, Hyderabad have had a tough start to their season. They've lost both their matches and were hammered by Kings XI Punjab in their last outing, losing by 72 runs.
Their top-order batting powerhouse of Aaron Finch and David Warner just hasn't fired and while their bowling has been impressive, they can only do so much.
Delhi have won one and lost two, most recently a mammoth 93-run defeat against the Chennai Super Kings. Thus, both sides are walking wounded and will be keen to put in a big performance to make up for their last matches.
Delhi are still waiting for Kevin Pietersen to be fit for his first match and the former England star might just make his comeback against the Sunrisers. He was quoted by the iplt20.com as saying:
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 will be a big boost, despite not having played competitive cricket since January this year, and he will be itching to return to his smash-and-grab ways. It's a long tournament and although Delhi are currently hovering around the bottom of the table (they are third from last), there is plenty of time to make a late charge.
For the Sunrisers, something's gotta give and that something has got to be with the batting. They've managed just 133 and 121 in their two batting innings, with not a single player managing more than 38 in either match. The Aussie duo of Finch and Warner have to step up and make something happen. According to the Sunrisers' official Twitter account, it's all in the training.
For Delhi, there could be one forced change in the bowling department. Nathan Coulter-Nile picked up a hamstring injury and is likely to be replaced by either Wayne Parnell or Rahul Shukla. There's no word yet on how long Coulter-Nile will be out for, but at least Delhi have some back-up.
It's a match that's probably too tough to call and a lot will depend on Pietersen's fitness and the form of Hyderabad's Aussies. If nothing else, at least it should be entertaining.
Captain Shikhar Dhawan managed to get a start in his first outing, scoring 38 off 34, but flopped in the second. It's crucial that the captain steps up a gear and makes his stay at the top of the order count. He might be just a touch out of form, but a little mental shift should fix that.
It's worth taking a punt on Kevin Pietersen's return. with an average of 42.26 in the tournament in 21 games—including three fifties and one hundred—he can add some serious spice to the mix if he makes a comeback.
S Dhawan (capt), S Anirudha, A Ashish Reddy, RK Bhui, AJ Finch, MC Henriques, JO Holder, MC Juneja, B Kumar, CV Milind, A Mishra, NV Ojha†, P Parameswaran, Parvez Rasool, IK Pathan, AG Paunikar, KL Rahul, DJG Sammy, I Sharma, KV Sharma, DW Steyn, BRM Taylor, Y Venugopal Rao, DA Warner
Mayank Agarwal, Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik, Jean-Paul Duminy, Ross Taylor, Manoj Tiwary, James Neesham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul Sharma, Wayne Parnell, Laxmi Shukla, Kedar Jadhav, Kevin Pietersen, Rahul Shukla, Saurabh Tiwary, Siddarth Kaul, Quinton de Kock, Milind Kumar, HS Sharath, Jayant Yadav.