It was a case of deja vu in the opening game of IPL 2017 as Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Royal Challengers Bangalore in what was a repeat of last year’s IPL final. The defending champions cruised to victory on the back of fifties from Moises Henriques and Yuvraj Singh.
In the 6th match of IPL 2017, they take on Gujarat Lions at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Here is the possible playing XI for the reigning IPL champions -
David Warner might not have got going against RCB in the opening game, but Sunrisers showed that they don’t always need him to shine to perform. Coming on the back of a poor showing in the Test series against India, the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain will be looking to get off to a good start in this year’s tournament and lead by example with the bat in hand.
Shikhar Dhawan was in great form during the Deodhar Trophy and he carried that form over to the opening match against RCB where he made up for the early loss of Warner and gave the platform needed for the middle-order to come in and wreak havoc. He will look to do the same against the Lions at home.
Moises Henriques got the nod ahead of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson at No. 3 and repaid the faith that has been continually shown by the management. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is continually among the runs and also chips in with crucial wickets as well.
Yuvraj Singh may not have had a great time with the bat in the domestic circuit following the England series but he showed that he has plenty to offer. His blitzkrieg against RCB, which was also his fastest IPL fifty showed that he wasn’t done just yet and might have just cemented his place not just in the SRH side but also in the Indian set-up ahead of the Champions Trophy.
Naman Ojha did not have much to do in the opener against RCB and therefore will be looking to impress in the next game against the Lions at home. The only thing that he did was drop a simple catch and although that didn’t have a huge impact on the game, Ojha will look to tighten up his work behind the stumps and contribute with the bat if needed.
Ben Cutting didn’t play much during IPL 2016 but popped up at the crucial moment to help them win the tournament. Much like he did in the opening game against RCB when he walked out, played a great cameo with the bat and contributed with the ball and in the field with a rocket throw that effected a run-out. He will be looking to do more of the same.
Deepak Hooda has been in sublime form in the domestic circuit leading up to IPL 2017. Although Hooda didn’t exactly set the stage on fire in the game against RCB, he provided some crucial runs with the bat, late in the innings, and also picked up a wicket in his only over. That is exactly the sort of contribution his team will be looking for from the big-hitting all-rounder.
Bipul Sharma was picked for his left-arm spin and his ability to contribute with some handy runs lower down the order. In the opening game, he didn’t get a chance to bat and so good was SRH’s bowling and the performance of their primary spinner that he bowled just one over. Although he did get a wicket in that over, he will be hoping to make more of an impact in the game against the Lions.
Rashid Khan, who was playing in his maiden IPL game, showed some nerves early on against RCB but showed plenty of resolve to pick up the crucial wickets of Travis Head and Mandeep Singh. If there was one thing that SRH lacked in their victorious IPL 2016 campaign it was a world class spinner and they have corrected that with the addition of the prodigiously talented Afghanistan teenager who will only get better the more he plays.
Ashish Nehra has been a revelation in the T20 format over the last few years with his ability to pick up wickets with the new ball and nail his yorkers at the death. Although he was taken to the cleaners during the powerplay, he showed all of his experience in coming back and picking up two wickets and cleaning up the tail to set up a big win for the reigning champions.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the reigning purple cap holder and has shown that in the IPL, there are few better bowlers than him. Capable of swinging the new ball and nailing his yorkers and slower balls at the death, not too dissimilar to his bowling partner, Nehra, Bhuvi has been simply sublime. He picked up two wickets in the opener against RCB and will be looking to add to it against Suresh Raina’s side.