Preview: One team with 18 points in the league stage and another with 12 will take each other on in the eliminator in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday (April 8).
The situation is cruel if you're a Delhi Capitals fan. It's fortunate if you're from the Sunrisers Hyderabad camp. Delhi's rise has been one of the stories of the IPL 2019, purely because they haven't been in the playoffs since 2012. Yet, one bad game, and they could be out.
Hyderabad have been struggling for form and consistency, as is evident from their number of points in the league stage. They're the first side to make it to this stage with just 12 points in the history of the tournament.
But the league stage is history now, and teams start level. Delhi perhaps have momentum, but Hyderabad have experience. Kane Williamson's men have been in the playoffs for the last four years, and know how to deal with such pressures. They're the only side to win an IPL (2016) after playing an eliminator.
This is a clash of teams with similar outlooks. Both are top heavy in the batting with weak middle orders. Both are strong bowling sides. Both have lost some key players; David Warner and Jonny Bairstow for SRH, and Kagiso Rabada (injured) for Delhi.
Delhi come into the game on the back of a comfortable home win over Rajasthan Royals in their last league match. The Sunrisers have lost steam after Warner's exit, losing in Mumbai in a Super Over and then in Bangalore.
There is also a bit of unknown going into the game, for this is the first match this season in Visakhapatnam which means teams will have to quickly assess the conditions.
PREVIOUS MEETINGS THIS SEASON
Sunrisers won the first meeting, in Delhi, comfortably by five wickets. The Capitals had their revenge in Hyderabad, defending 155 for a 39-run win.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
SHREYAS IYER: The Delhi captain has been the glue that has held the batting unit together. His form is the reason Delhi have been able to overcome their middle order weakness, and he will once again be crucial in a knockout match. Iyer has 442 runs from 14 matches at a strike rate of 123.46, and is second only to Shikhar Dhawan (486 runs) in the list of highest scorers for Delhi this season.
KANE WILLIAMSON: Like Iyer for Delhi, Williamson's form is crucial for Hyderabad as they too have a weak middle order. Manish Pandey has found form at No. 3, but the departure of Bairstow and Warner, and the absence of consistent runs from Vijay Shankar and Yusuf Pathan makes Williamson's role important. He had a poor start to the season before finding form in Bangalore with a half-century, and has to extend the momentum.
Delhi: Keemo Paul suffered an injury last game and walked off after bowling 3.1 overs. Delhi might replace him with Chris Morris.
Hyderabad: Hyderabad might not tinker much with their combination. If conditions suit spin, they could bring in Abhishek Sharma or Shahbaz Nadeem for Basil Thampi.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Wriddhiman Saha(w), Martin Guptill, Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson(c), Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, K Khaleel Ahmed, Basil Thampi/Shahbaz Nadeem.
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer(c), Rishabh Pant(w), Colin Ingram, Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul/Chris Morris, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Trent Boult.
First Published: May 8, 2019, 9:13 AM IST