IPL 2020: Sunrisers, Capitals face off in crucial clash
While Delhi Capitals are not in a do-or-die situation like SRH, this is a crucial match for them nonetheless to regain winning momentum
Sunrisers Hyderabad, stragglers in the points table, have to win this match to stay in contention — however remote — for a place in the last four.
Their situation wouldn't have been so dire, but for the meltdown against Kings XI Punjab the other day when they lost seven wickets for just 14 runs, collapsing abjectly from 100-3 to 114 all out, chasing a paltry 127 to win.
The debacle highlighted SRH's biggest problem area: a fragile batting line-up. With Williamson on the injury list, the top order has lacked solidity, and if openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow don't make sizable contributions, there is invariably trouble.
This makes it incumbent on the other batsmen, Manish Pandey in particular, to pull their weight. Pandey played a few terrific knocks, but many more without substance.
Sunrisers' bowling, thought to be iffy after Bhuvaneshwar Kumar broke down, is faring much better than the batting.
Rashid Khan has been in masterly form, and Jason Holder has been among the wickets as soon as he was included. The support cast of young seamers Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma and particularly Thangarasu Natrajan has been impressive.
While Delhi Capitals are not in a do-or-die situation like SRH, this is a crucial match for them nonetheless to regain winning momentum as the league phase nears its end.
Sitting pretty on 14 points, DC capitulated unexpectedly against KKR, losing by a massive margin of 59 runs, and now have to reboot to get back into their winning ways.
It's unlikely that DC will not make it to the playoffs. The bigger issue for them is finishing in the top two in the points table to get two shots of playing the final. A defeat on Tuesday night would be a setback to such aspirations.
While DC's bowlers had a bad outing against KKR, this must be seen as an aberration in the context of how the attack has fared right through the competition. Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Marcus Stoinis make arguably the best bowling unit in the IPL.
The big concern for DC is in the top order batting, which just about 10-12 days back was in sizzling form.
Prithvi Shaw's form plummeted, forcing the team management to bench him, Ajinkya Rahane has failed to capitalise on the chances he's got, Pant hasn't looked in rhythm since his return from injury.
If SRH strike early blows and can get mainstays Dhawan and Iyer early, DC will be pushed to the wall.
Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator