The Sunrisers Hyderabad, along with the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders, is one of the three teams who look to be in definite contention for a spot in the playoffs. The victory in their last match against the then table-toppers, KKR, suggested that the men from Hyderabad are in a position to challenge even the best in the league.
David Warner, the SRH captain, struck the third century of the season, a majestic 126 that propelled his side to their third 200+ total in the league. With the kind of bowling that they have at their disposal, bolstered by the presence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the purple cap holder, a total in excess of 200 was always going to be a tough one for their opponents.
While Shikhar Dhawan has ably supported his captain at the top of the order, the middle-order batting has been a cause of concern for Hyderabad as their power hitters, in Yuvraj Singh and Moises Henriques, haven't been consistent with the bat.
However, Kane Williamson's form with the bat should come as a relief as the SRH top three have been doing the bulk of the scoring. The likes of Naman Ojha and Deepak Hooda must come into the picture with the bat sooner rather than later.
Here's the predicted XI for the Sunrisers to feature in tonight's game against the Delhi Daredevils.
David Warner, fresh off a match-winning century, would look to continue his golden run in the tournament that has helped him accumulate 459 runs from 9 matches and has made him the owner of the Orange Cap. His partnership with Shikhar Dhawan, in his own words, has been crucial to his team's success and the left-handed batsmen would look to provide their team with another blazing start.
Shikhar Dhawan has played a firm support role to Warner and has garnered 341 runs from 9 matches. More often than not, Dhawan has been the aggressor at the beginning of the innings and Warner has played the support role first, before playing the role of a sheet anchor and playing a long innings. Hence, the responsibility of providing them with a brisk start rests firmly on Dhawan's shoulders.
Kane Williamson, since his inclusion in the side, has played the role of a perfect No. 3 and has held the innings together after the departures of the opening batsmen. The New Zealand batsman has scored 204 runs from 4 matches at an average of 35.90 and a strike rate of 134.96 with three half centuries. Such a consistent run is rarely seen during these fast-moving leagues and SRH would hope that Williamson only builds on his momentum.
Yuvraj Singh has blown hot and cold over the past few games and hasn't been able to convert the starts into big totals. His last five scores of 6*, 15, 3, 0 and 26 indicate that either Yuvraj has been dismissed cheaply or he has not been able to play a long hand even after getting a start. If SRH are to have their hopes of a title defence, Yuvraj's form will be crucial.
Moises Henriques hasn't been as good with the bat as he has been with the ball and it is at this batting position that SRH's real problems begin to surface. Numbers 5, 6 and 7 haven't had much batting practice and should the top order fail, the middle order might be exposed to a pressure situation without the required experience to handle it.
Naman Ojha, the wicket-keeper batsman has not made the best of whatever opportunities have been provided to him and would look forward to changing that in the remaining few league games. A promotion in the order may also be warranted if SRH are to give some batting practice to their middle order batsmen and make sure that they gain form before the playoffs.
Bipul Sharma, the leg-spinner, has played a decent support role to Rashid Khan, the other leg spinner, and has been able to put a break on the flow of runs. Besides his capability with the bat to hit a long ball makes him a potential slogger down the order. SRH would hope that Bipul continues with the form that he has shown throughout the tournament.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been the star performer for the Sunrisers this season having picked up 20 wickets in 9 matches, the most by any bowler this season. His ability with the new ball was well solicited even at the beginning of the season, but it has been his ability to nail the yorkers at the death that has got the world talking about him and has compelled the SRH coach Tom Moody to hail him as one of the world's finest.
Rashid Khan, the 19-year-old sensation from Afghanistan seems to be calling all the right shots on the field. Being one of the two players from Afghanistan to play the league – the other being Mohammad Nabi – the leg-spinner seems to have answers to all situations. He breaks partnerships whenever required, be it during the powerplay, the middle overs or the death, slows down the runs, and builds the pressure.
Siddharth Kaul has been a revelation for the Sunrisers as he has been a good second-hand to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in terms of good death bowling and has prevented SRH's prime bowler, Bhuvneshwar, from being under too much pressure. The way he has mixed his slower deliveries with sharp toe-crushers has been immaculate and his combination with Kumar at the death has been critical to the team's success.
Mohammad Siraj has got raw pace, which he has used to good effect against the batsmen. Siraj has exploited the conditions well and has extracted out whatever purchase that there has been available. It is always good to have a bowler who can hurry the batsmen up and SRH must consider themselves lucky in this regard.