Sunrisers Hyderabad had started to pack their bags in anticipation of an unceremonious exit from IPL 2019. No team with just 12 points after the league phase had managed to qualify for the playoffs before, and the chances of Kolkata Knight Riders defeating Mumbai Indians and clinching the final spot were high.
But as KKR imploded in Mumbai with Robin Uthappa labouring to 40 off 47 balls batting first in a must-win match, Sunrisers were handed a surprise entry into the playoffs. Such has been the season this time that the bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore finished on 11 points and Sunrisers qualified with 12.
It is up to Hyderabad to make the most of this slice of luck as they take on Delhi Capitals in the Eliminator in Vizag on Wednesday. Delhi enter the clash having won their last match against Rajasthan, while Sunrisers are here despite defeat to RCB.
Dhawan v Hyderabad
Delhi batting mainstay Shikhar Dhawan will be doubly motivated to make an impact. He will be up against his previous employer Sunrisers, who let him go before the season started after being their leading man at the top of the order for three straight years.
After an indifferent start to life at Delhi Capitals, the southpaw has settled into a rhythm and reeled off three successive fifties recently. He seems in good nick to make it count in a do-or-die clash.
Both teams enter the clash without some big names in the line-up. Delhi will have to make do without star fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who had carried the team’s campaign on his broad shoulders with 25 scalps. But his back injury means Delhi won’t have four overs of guaranteed control and wickets.
While Rabada is out due to injury, Sunrisers’ personnel woes were expected following the departure of smash-hit opening partners David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. With captain Kane Williamson not in the best of form and the middle order showing acute weakness, it’s not looking great for SRH.
The ACA-VDCA stadium hosted a T20 between India and Australia earlier in the year and it was hardly an ideal setting. India laboured to 126-7 on a sluggish pitch relished by both seamers and pacers.
Australia too struggled in reply, losing seven wickets of their own before reaching the target off the last ball of the game. While it was a close finish, a low scoring pitch is never good news for a T20 match.
The winner of the Eliminator will play the loser of the first Qualifier for the right to play in the final on Sunday.
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Colin Ingram, Axar Patel, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane
SRH: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Martin Guptill, Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson (c), Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleen Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma
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