IPL 2018: Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) today's probable playing 11 against Rajasthan Royals (RR)
For the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the start to the season was off the wrong itself, with David Warner not part of the squad, and a new team being handed to an untested IPL captain. It all seems to be a long while back, for the Sunrisers don't seem to have lost the ability to perform as a cohesive unit, the way they did in 2016.
Currently placed second in the point's table, with a healthy net run-rate for company, SRH will be hoping to carry forward the momentum as the tournament approaches the mid-season mark.
Here's what their lineup could look like against the Rajasthan Royals in their away fixture at Jaipur:
Shikhar Dhawan: Sunrisers' rock at the top of the order, especially in the absence of David Warner, Dhawan started off the edition in style, but seems to have dropped his form a bit, especially in the last four innings. His coming back to form will be the biggest boost for the team.
Kane Williamson: His captaincy has been non-nonsense and on point, so has been his form with the bat. If he can continue in the same vein, and build innings around his steady batting, the Sunrisers will be well served. He already has three fifties to his name.
Wriddhiman Saha: He has been playing the IPL since the first season and has enough international experience to show, but Saha has failed miserably with the bat this season. While his keeping has been up to the mark, the management might be forced to try out Shreevats Goswami, if things don't work out soon for him.
Manish Pandey: Much was anticipated out of Manish Pandey, a consistent performer in T20s, to form the rock for the Sunrisers' middle-order. He failed to find the meat of the bat, and was struggling in the initial games, but is slowly warming up. He compiled a steady fifty in the last game against Punjab and could be back to being the man the side has been looking for.
Shakib Al Hasan: A veteran of the T20, Shakib recently reached the milestone of 300 wickets in the format, highlighting his consistent run over the years. In seven games thus far, he has picked up eight wickets for the franchise, although the flow of runs from his bat has been indifferent.
Yusuf Pathan: It's no news that Yusuf Pathan isn't the same destructive player that had caught everyone's attention in the late 2000s, but he still holds on to a spot in the middle-order, courtesy his explosive style that can always come in handy. His strike-rate has been hovering in the late 120s, but quick contributions down the order from him can help the side's cause.
Mohammad Nabi: One of the two Afghanistanis in the team, Nabi is the quintessential T20 all-rounder, who can give the ball a mighty tonk and send in quick, economical overs when need be. Having played just two games this season, he will looking to make a much more lasting impact in the upcoming games.
Rashid Khan: A revelation for the Sunrisers, Rashid Khan remains the X-factor in the team second year running, but teams have slowly started to find their way around his wily leg-break. Against the Kings XI and Super Kings, he went for 55 and 49 runs respectively, but came back admirably in the next two games, especially with his spell of 3-19 against the Kings XI in the return leg.
Basil Thampi: The talented Indian pacer, having shown his potential for the Gujarat Lions last year, is now plying his trade for the Sunrisers, although the opportunities have been low in number, because of the problem of plenty. In two games, he has bowled really well, picking up four wickets, and will hold his spot in the playing XI.
Siddarth Kaul: Clever and street-smart, Kaul knows his strengths and weaknesses inside out, and uses his variations to stunning effect, using the lack of pace to his advantage. His cutters and slower balls are a real menace to deal with for the opposition, especially towards the death.
Sandeep Sharma: A fine exponent of swing bowling, especially in the powerplays, Sandeep Sharma has been helping Kaul and Thampi fill in the big boots of the indisposed Bhuvneshwar Kumar. A like-for-like replacement for him, Sandeep has been economical, prising out crucial wickets in the process.
A call on Bhuvneshwar Kumar's availability is likely to be made by the management before the game, although they wouldn't want to risk getting him back too quickly, with more than half the tournament still to go.