IPL 2020 is truly at its business end, and we’re now down to the last three teams standing in what has been a proper dogfight. And tonight, that number must go down to two.
Where one team came flying out of the blocks early in the season and established themselves as firm favourites right away, the other had to really claw their way into the mix after they had a fairly disappointing start to this season. And now, it comes down to who wins tonight’s match for an opportunity to take on the Mumbai Indians in the tournament’s grand finale.
The Delhi Capitals (DC) find themselves playing tonight’s second qualifier after they were haplessly beaten by a dominant Mumbai Indians side in the first qualifier. A fabulous start that saw Shreyas Iyer’s men win 7 in 9 games was almost all thrown away with four defeats on the trot.
In their final league game, an impressive spell of fast bowling from Anrich Nortje and the calming influences of Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order in the chase, rescued what could have been a disaster for Delhi. Their victory pushed the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) down to the Eliminator instead.
Virat Kohli’s men were beaten in what turned out to be a final over thriller by the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), the Capitals’ opponents tonight. On the night, it was Kane Williamson and Jason Holder who held fort and ensured that a mini-collapse wasn’t compounded, warding off memories of a disastrous first game of the campaign for their team.
The Sunrisers have had a roller-coaster season with several ups and downs throughout a campaign that culminated in a big win over defending champions, Mumbai Indians. Two of those aforementioned ups would be their victories over tonight’s opponents, the Delhi Capitals.
Early on in the tournament, SRH, coming off back-to-back defeats, registered their first win of IPL 2020 by beating DC by 15 runs. With DC needing just one win to go through to the playoffs, SRH would beat them again. This time by a comprehensive 88 runs. The momentum was starting to shift towards the Hyderabad-based side.
With the winners getting an opportunity to fight it out for the IPL 2020 trophy, all eyes will be on tonight’s Delhi v Hyderabad clash as David Warner and his men look to script the penultimate chapter in SRH’s comeback story.
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IPL 2020: DC v SRH Match Prediction
The Sunrisers have had a surprise central figure in their late resurgence: 36-year-old Wriddhiman Saha. Kane Williamson’s return from injury, combined with Jason Holder’s impressive performances with both bat and ball, saw Saha slot in for Jonny Bairstow to make up for the foreign player quota in the eleven.
Having played just the one game - scoring an excruciating 31-ball 30 in a seven-wicket defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders - in the IPL 2020, it looked like the Bengal keeper was brought into the team just to make up for the numbers. 184 runs in three innings, and an average of 92, showed the world that he was here to make a difference until a groin injury ruled him out of the Eliminator against RCB, of course.
Now, SRH is left sweating over the fitness of someone that was considered a makeshift opener only days ago, but the Hyderabadi franchise have more to them, of course. If Holder and Williamson proved their worth with a fantastic partnership that saw them home in the Eliminator, David Warner and Rashid Khan have proved their worth throughout the tournament.
The SRH skipper is second on the Orange Cap list and has 546 runs to his name. A big innings tonight, and Warner could find himself within touching distance of KL Rahul, if he is to play the final. Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan finds himself in eighth place among the wicket-takers, with 19 scalps to his name.
Pacers T Natarajan and Sandeep Sharma are at 10th and 12th, with 16 and 13 wickets respectively. These two have made sure that Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s absence has almost gone unnoticed during the campaign.
The Capitals, in sharp contrast to SRH’s form, come into this game on the back of 5 defeats in 6 matches. While pacers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje find themselves up there among the wicket-takers, even they have failed to make an impression in recent games.
The batters too seem to have faltered of late. In a season where he has two back-to-back hundreds and three fifties to his name, Shikhar Dhawan has failed to reach the double-digit mark four times in five games, a run that has included three ducks.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer, who showed a lot of promise early on, has failed to capitalise on starts more often than not, leaving the Capitals with the need for a big innings elsewhere in the lineup. While they would have looked towards one Rishabh Pant for that big knock in either of the last two seasons, the southpaw has failed to breach the 50-run mark even once this season.
And while Marcus Stoinis showed signs of life in Delhi’s chase in the first qualifier, the all-rounder, just like the other batsmen mentioned earlier, will have to do a lot more if DC are to play the Mumbai Indians again this tournament.
Despite all the quality in the DC line-up, the team from the Indian capital have lost to SRH twice this season, and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t happen again.
Prediction: SRH to win today’s match.