Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will take on the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the second game of the IPL 2021 double-header on Sunday at Chepauk in Chennai. Both teams are coming on the back of impressive wins in their previous games and will be keen to continue their winning momentum.
SRH finally seemed to have found the right balance to their side as Jonny Bairstow once again proved why he needs to open the batting. The England right-hander smashed a brilliant half-century that blew away the Punjab Kings (PBKS) as SRH won their first game of the IPL 2021 season by nine wickets.
Before their previous game against the Mumbai Indians (MI), DC had lost their last five games against the defending champions. However, the formidable MI batting is struggling this year and leg-spinner Amit Mishra took complete advantage of it, bagging a four-wicket haul.
SRH vs DC: 3 batsmen to watch out for
Shikhar Dhawan's patient knock ensured DC won the game comfortably and ended their jinx against MI. Given the nature of the games that have happened on the slow tracks in Chennai, it has become crucial for the top-order to fire as batting only gets more difficult as the game progresses.
On that note, let's have a look at three batsmen who might make the biggest contribution in the SRH vs DC game:
#3 Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson is arguably the most underrated T20 batsman to have played in the IPL. The Kiwi star led SRH to the IPL 2018 final in the absence of David Warner and has also played a number of crucial knocks for the franchise under pressure.
Williamson scored 317 runs last season and also played a match-winning knock in the Eliminator. His incredible average of 45.28 shows why SRH struggled in the first few games this season when Williamson was unavailable due to injury.
Although the SRH top-order still looks a bit top-heavy, the presence of Williamson in the line-up gives Warner and Birstow enough freedom to go for the kill in the first six overs. The 30-year-old brings a sense of calm to the SRH batting and has the game to shift gears when needed.
If SRH lose early wickets against DC, they will depend a lot on Williamson to get them to a competitive total. It will be interesting to see how the Kiwi anchors the SRH innings and whether he will be able to get a big score against DC.
#2 Jonny Bairstow
The move to send Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order has given SRH a new lease of life in their IPL 2021 season. With the opening combination of Wriddhiman Saha and David Warner bearing fruit last year and Williamson being injured, Bairstow was told to bat at No.4.
Having played at the same position in the T20 format for England, Bairstow should have adjusted to the conditions. However, it was difficult for the Englishman to time the ball on such slow surfaces.
The opening combination did make the SRH batting line-up look thin in the middle-order. But it was the success of Warner and Bairstow together that enticed SRH to re-unite the duo at the top of the order. Bairstow played a blistering knock of 43 against MI and was unfortunately hit-wicket.
But in the very next game, he built another half-century partnership with Warner and his unbeaten fifty helped SRH coast home. It is clear that if Bairstow gets going, there is almost nothing the opposition can do due to his counter-attacking style of batting.
#1 Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan is having the perfect IPLs season he would have craved after being dropped from the playing XI of Team India after just one game of the five-match T20I series against England.
The 35-year-old was tipped to be way past his prime in the shortest format and his strike-rate was questioned by many. But Dhawan has answered his critics in style so far, scoring 231 runs in just 4 games and currently holding the Orange Cap.
Many felt that after three games on a good batting wicket at Wankhede, Dhawan would struggle on the Chennai pitch against MI. Although he played an uncharacteristic knock, he adapted well to the pitch and his innings ensured there was no batting collapse for DC.
Dhawan could be dangerous in the powerplay and that period is something he will be keen to target once again when SRH face DC. If the southpaw has a prolific season this year, he might well cement his place in Team India's T20 World Cup squad.