An inconsistent Delhi Daredevils will take on a rampant Sunrisers Hyderabad in match number 52 of the Indian Premier League at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on Friday. The match will be crucial for both the teams since they are very much in contention for the final four, which is expected to be a close race till the end. Sunrisers may be table toppers while the Daredevils may be languishing towards the bottom of the points table. But, things are so close in terms of points that one victory or defeat can turn the equation upside down. The sides thus have a lot to play for.
The last time Delhi faced Sunrisers in the IPL, they managed to defeat their much-fancied opponents, so they will be silently confident. But, things have changed since. Delhi have been impressive as well as inconsistent in phases while Sunrisers, after beginning on an unsure note, have worked their way up, and have progressed to the top of the table. With the kind of form Royal Challengers Bangalore are in, the early momentum gained by Gujarat Lions as well as the good shows by Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians of late, Sunrisers will have their task cut out to remain on top.
Delhi will again be dependent on their skipper Zaheer Khan to deliver with the ball. Whenever he has been fit, the veteran has made an impact on the game, with his accuracy and variations. Nothing else will be expected of the left-arm seamer as he takes his team into the field on Friday. Leggie Amit Mishra and Imran Tahir are the two other bowlers Delhi will be dependent on, considering their experience. In the batting department, most eyes will be on Quinton de Kock who has by far been the most consistent batsman for the team.
As for Sunrisers, they would just like to carry on with the good work that they have been doing. They have tasted good all-round success as a result of which they find themselves in a pretty good position. David Warner has led the side from the front with some excellent match-winning knocks at the top of the order. Shikhar Dhawan did not begin the season on a bright note, but has since excelled, and has been one of the key reasons behind the team's success. The inclusion of Yuvraj Singh has definitely strengthened the side, and he can also contribute with the ball.
Speaking of their bowling, Sunrisers will again depend on their impressive line-up to deliver. In Ashish Nehra, they have one of the most impressive bowlers in the IPL this season. He has found excellent support from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been accurate and has claimed wickets as well. But, the standout bowler without doubt has been Mustafizur Rahman, who has given most opponents a hard time. Barinder Sran is another pacer who has done well. Sunrisers do not have a quality spin option, but that definitely hasn't hampered their chances so far.
--By A Cricket Analyst