Match 24: Rising Pune Supergiant vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune (Capacity: 37,000)
Thursday, April 20th
16:00 hours IST
After giving their 2017 campaign a winning start, Pune lost its way and are languishing at the seventh position in the league table. However, after three consecutive losses, the win against RCB in their previous encounter shall prove to be a confidence booster for the Smith-led team as they look to seize the momentum. They are hosting the Sunrisers Hyderabad who are riding high on confidence, coming at the back of convincing victories over Punjab and Delhi.
RPS: W(MI) L(KXIP) L(DD) L(GL) W(RCB)
SRH: W(RCB) W(GL) L(MI) L(KKR) W(KXIP) W(DD)
Pune’s batting order which boasts of big names like those of Rahane, Smith, Dhoni and Stokes has come under the scanner for their below par performance. In their last match against Bangalore, had it not been for Manoj Tiwary’s belligerence at the end, Pune would have ended up with a paltry total on the board. Rahane needs to convert his promising starts into match wining contributions. Tripathi seems to be an able foil for the patient Rahane. Captain Steve Smith, who was off to Dubai for a mid-week break shall be rejuvenated and the sooner he delivers with the bat the better it will be for his team. Dhoni, who has shuffled batting positions and has even been given the hike in the batting order, has not yet stood up to the expectations of the Pune fans. Ben Stokes who came up with a match turning performance with the ball in the last match needs to shine with the bat as well. Manoj Tiwary has proven to be an asset for the team with his death overs flourish and the team management will be hopeful of him continuing the golden form. In the bowling department, Imran Tahir and Stokes will have to raise their hands and be the potent force in an otherwise ordinary bowling attack.
The Sunrisers look a balanced outfit with both their bowling and batting firing. The over dependency on Warner was overcome in the last match as Kane Williamson returned to the fold in style. Shikhar Dhawan has efficiently played the sheet anchor role, allowing the explosive Warner to play his natural game. Yuvraj Singh is short of runs but we all know how he can change the course of a match on his day. Henriques has been of great value for the team, both with bat in hand and his medium paced bowling. Hooda has impressed in short bursts with big hitting. Their bowling unit, spearheaded by the immensely improved Bhuvneshwar Kumar who also currently holds the purple cap, is a force to reckon with. Rashid Khan has been difficult to pick and his googlies have proven to be the undoing for the best in the business. The young Siraj was given a chance last match and he returned with two crucial wickets.
Ideal Playing XI:
Rising Pune Supergiant: Rahul Tripathi, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith ©, Manoj Tiwari, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni (wk), Deepak Chahar, Dan Christian, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Imran Tahir
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner ©, Kane Williamson, Yuvraj Singh, Moises Henriques, Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha (wk), Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Siraj, Siddharth Kaul
Pitch and Weather report: The weather in Pune is expected to be hot with temperatures hovering around 36 degrees Celsius. It being a 4 p.m. start, the team winning the toss will be looking to bowl first as the pitch becomes better with the lights on in the evening. The pitch is expected to be high scoring as was evident in the last match at this venue when Delhi scored a massive 205-4.
History: The head to head dossier between the two teams stands at 1-1 as Pune defeated Hyderabad by 34 runs at Hyderabad while they were returned the favour by the Sunrisers when the two teams met at Vizag last year.
Match prediction: Though both teams are coming into the contest after having won their previous encounters, it seems highly unlikely that the home team can rattle the mighty Sunrisers unless the latter have a bad day in office.