IPL 2019: Pressure mounting on both SRH and KXIP ahead of pivotal clash in play-off race

Ashish Peter 28/04/2019
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Warner and Gayle go head-to-head. Image - BCCI.

There is no time to mope for Sunrisers Hyderabad following their seven-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals with another 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) clash on the way for Kane Williamson and his men in less than 48 hours.

Kings XI Punjab will be SRH’s opponents at Hyderabad on Monday in a clash which has assumed great significance in the context of the play-off race following the latest set of results.

PLAY-OFF BATTLE GETS MURKIER

Rajasthan’s win over Hyderabad on Saturday has guaranteed play-off qualification for defending champions Chennai Super Kings but has blown the race wide open for the rest of the teams in the fray.

After tasting what was their sixth loss of the season, SRH still hold on to the fourth and final play-off spot currently but the gap with the teams behind them has closed down drastically. Williamson’s men are now tied with KXIP and Rajasthan on 10 points while KKR and RCB are just two points behind.

No team has yet been ruled out completely from the play-off race and that means there are as many as seven sides currently vying for the three remaining slots. As such, the result of Monday’s clash will have a significant bearing on both Hyderabad and Punjab’s play-off ambitions with a loss for either side having potentially catastrophic consequences for their respective campaigns.

CURRENT FORM AGAINST BOTH SRH, KXIP

Neither of the two sides are in good form coming into Monday’s clash at Hyderabad. Both teams started off the campaign in strong fashion but are now in danger of running out of steam at the most crucial stage of the tournament.

Sunrisers have now been beaten four times in their last seven outings including a six-wicket loss against KXIP in the reverse-fixture at Mohali. KXIP, on the other hand, come into the match on the back of four losses in five matches. Just like in the 2018 edition, Ravi Ashwin and his men were impressive in the first half of the tournament but the wheels have come off dramatically in recent weeks.

Both the teams are struggling for form and momentum at the business end of the IPL and are in desperate need of some inspiration.

WARNER V GAYLE OPENING BATTLE

Two overseas left-handed openers have been doing the business for both Hyderabad and Punjab this season with David Warner and Chris Gayle stamping their authority on the league once again.

While Warner missed out a on a record sixth consecutive fifty on Saturday, the Aussie has been in exceptional form in the IPL 2019 campaign where he has scored 611 runs so far at an average of nearly 69. It’s the third IPL edition in a row that Warner has managed to breach the 600-run mark and he is only the second batsman to do so after a certain Chris Gayle.

The explosive Windies veteran has not been too far behind Warner this season with 444 runs of his own at an average of almost 50. The Jamaican has already struck a staggering 32 sixes in his 10 innings so far and continues to defy age with his incredible consistency.

How the two openers fare for their respective sides on Monday could very well have a major say in the final outcome.

LIKELY XIs

Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Shakib Al Hasan, Wriddhiman Saha, Deepak Hooda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed.

Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Mandeep Singh, Ravi Ashwin, Hardus Viljoen, Murugan Ashwin, Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammed Shami.

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IPL 2019: Rajasthan Royals' Jaydev Unadkat on his SRH display - I really needed it

Sudhir Gupta 28/04/2019
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Unadkat put in a match-winning display. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

It was fast turning into another Indian Premier League (IPL) season to forget for Jaydev Unadkat but the Rajasthan Royals seamer bounced back strongly on Saturday with a man-of-the-match display against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Unadkat, who has gone at almost 11 runs an over with the ball in the 2019 campaign, picked up the crucial wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Deepak Hooda to pave the way for a seven-wicket win for Rajasthan at Jaipur. His terrific bowling in the death overs helped Rajasthan restrict Hyderabad to 160-8 after the visitors had made an excellent start with the bat.

Along with his excellent figures of 2-26 with the ball, the left-armed seamer was also excellent in the field where he held on to three difficult catches. Having been branded as an expensive flop by many for his struggles previously, Unadkat was delighted to finally find some joy.

“I can’t really express how much I needed it for my own confidence,” a relieved Unadkat stated after the game.

“Times have been tough but I have grown strong from it and become better as a player. That is how it is in T20 cricket. As a bowler, you can’t really expect to win matches for your team every single time.

“To be honest, this season I have been trying everything that I have and I am happy with the way things have gone. Yes, the figures don’t suggest that but the balls that I have been bowling in the middle, apart from the ones that I got hit, were something that I wanted to do. Really happy that the results finally came out to boost my confidence.”

The win helped Rajasthan remain in contention for the IPL 2019 play-offs with the team leapfrogging Kolkata Knight Riders to sixth spot in the table. The Royals are now tied with SRH and Kings XI Punjab at 10 points apiece.

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IPL 2019 Fantasy: AB de Villiers and Rishabh Pant among top picks for Delhi Capitals vs RCB

Ashish Peter 28/04/2019
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AB de Villiers is in smashing form. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

The 2019 Indian Premier League season heads into match 46 with Delhi Capitals set to host Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first game of Sunday’s double header.

As fans, watching the action is not the only thing to look forward to – IPL fantasy games mean you have the opportunity to get involved as well.

As the IPL’s official partner, Dream11 runs a daily contest for each game apart from the default format which is conducted per round.

Here, we focus on helping you navigate your way through the former.

BATSMAN

AB de Villiers – Royal Challengers Bangalore (10.5 credits)

The South Africa is the most in-form batsmen from either side heading into the clash and looks set for another strong innings on Sunday.

After starting the campaign in indifferent form, de Villiers has turned on the style in recent matches and is now fifth in the run-scoring charts with 414 runs.

The 35-year-old has registered three half-centuries in his last four outings, with the latest of them being an unbeaten 44-ball 82 which helped his side beat KXIP.

With a batting average of nearly 60 and a strike-rate of over 158, de Villiers is starting to take the IPL by storm and he will be eager to put in a big performance on a pitch he only knows too well having previously played for Delhi.

BOWLER

Kagiso Rabada – Delhi Capitals (9.5 credits)

In the bowling department, de Villiers’ compatriot Kagiso Rabada is a straightforward pick with his stunning IPL campaign to date showing no signs of slowing down.

The express pacer has been key to Delhi’s resurgence this season and is leading the wicket-taking charts by some distance over his closest rival Imran Tahir. With 23 wickets in just 11 outings, Rabada has left every other bowler in his wake.

The most impressive aspect of the Proteas pacer’s displays have been his strike-rate and incredible consistency. With Rabada guaranteeing a wicket every 11 deliveries, it would be foolish to not lead with him in the Fantasy line ups.

ALL-ROUNDER

Marcus Stoinis – Royal Challengers Bangalore (8.5 credits)

It is Australia’s Marcus Stoinis who gets the nod in the all-rounder’s department but it is more to do with circumstance than form.

With Moeen Ali returning for England duty, Stoinis is the only all-rounder who is guaranteed to feature in the playing XI of either side on Sunday. Delhi have Chris Morris and Axar Patel at their disposal while Bangalore also have Colin de Grandhomme but none of these players are certain to make the final cut.

As such, Stoinis is the safe pick and not a bad one at that. The Aussie has been solid with the bat where he is averaging nearly 60 and has scored some vital lower-order runs for RCB.

With the ball, Stoinis has not had many opportunities but has still managed to claim two wickets. With Moeen not available, the Australian’s bowling responsibilities might increase a notch and that could translate into more Fantasy points.

WICKETKEEPER

Rishabh Pant – Delhi Capitals (9.5 credits)

While Parthiv Patel is having a decent IPL campaign by his own right for RCB, it is Delhi’s Rishabh Pant who gets our nod following his excellent display against Rajasthan Royals.

The Delhi wicketkeeper batsman had to face the disappointment of losing out to Dinesh Karthik in India’s World Cup squad selection but he bounced back from that with a resounding unbeaten knock of 78 against Rajasthan which came off just 36 deliveries.

Pant is a difficult man to stop once he gets going as his 684 runs in the 2018 edition showed and the left-hander is starting to rediscover his old magic.

CAPTAIN – Rishabh Pant

VICE CAPTAIN – AB de Villiers

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