Missing out on making the IPL play-offs for a consecutive six seasons in a row, a new name and identity has brought Delhi Capitals back on the map and amongst the top and this season, they are hungry for success more than the franchise has ever been before. Making it into the playoffs, Delhi lock horns with last season's finalists, Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator round of the Indian Premier League.
Sunrisers Hyderabad were dominant till David Warner and Jonny Bairstow left for their respective national sides and to be brutally honest, Hyderabad's chances of making the play-offs were extremely thin, but they do have Mumbai Indians to thank as the Rohit Sharma led side crushed Kolkata Knight Riders' hopes of booking the final spot which is now being occupied by SRH. In fact, Hyderabad are the first team in IPL history to make it to the IPL play-offs with 12 points, while Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals are on 18 points.
The two sides have faced each other twice and it's even stevens, however, there can be only one team which will advance to second Qualifier and face Chennai Super Kings.
What to Expect in the 2019 IPL Eliminator?
It's a do or die situation from here on for both franchises where they will face the loser of the first Qualifier. However, Delhi Capitals have the upper hand in the clash given their clinical performances so far this season. The Shreyas Iyer led-side have won 9 matches out of 14, including a match via a super over. However, in the five fixtures they lost this edition, one of them is to Sunrisers Hyderabad in their previous encounter at Feroz Shah Kotla,
SRH's bowlers restricted DC to post a meagre total of 129/8, where Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Nabi did trouble the batsman and SRH went on to win the clash by 5 wickets. But, it was a Delhi wicket which will be quite different than the one in Visakhapatnam, a.k.a Vizag. We can expect plenty of fireworks coming from Delhi's top and middle order who have kept the bowlers busy this season.
One major disadvantage for Delhi will be missing out on the presence of Kagiso Rabada, who has been their star performer and is currently the purple cap holder with an outstanding 25 wickets in 12 matches. However, that does not stop Delhi from fielding their best XI who are currently present.
Hyderabad had a solid start to their season, dominant with the bat and brilliant with the ball, but as time flew by, Hyderabad crawled their way up and needed a little luck to make it to the play-offs. SRH had a chance to qualify but they lost to a relegated Royal Challengers Bangalore, where their bowlers were taken for a ride despite last season's highest scorer Kane Williamson stepping up with a valiant 43-ball 70. Without David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, Hyderabad have had some trouble but they might get some solace in Manish Pandey, who has been on a smashing spree at the No.3 spot. Their 'three-dimensional' all-rounder Vijay Shankar has been quite off lately but can bring in the fireworks.
After winning the first encounter against Delhi at Kotla, Hyderabad were handed a reality check when Delhi handed the Sunrisers a 39-run loss after bundling out their side in the chase of 156 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. It was Rabada who starred with his 4/22.
Going into the clash as the underdogs, Hyderabad have plenty of homework to do against a well oiled Delhi side, which is being coached by two-time World Cup-winning captain Ricky Ponting and have an advisor in former India captain, Sourav Ganguly.
The senior Team India player has been in fine form off late and been Delhi's backbone along with youngster Prithvi Shaw in opening for the Capitals. He is sixth on the list with most runs this season, scoring 486 runs in 14 matches played which include five fifties and a best score of an unbeaten 97. However, Hyderabad's Khaleel has been in terrific form and claiming 17 wickets in 8 matches played. He has troubled many batsmen this season and it will be interesting how two southpaws face-off in the Eliminator.
Rishabh Pant vs Mohammed Nabi
Pant has been unpredictable this season so far, hitting whenever he wants and wherever he wants. The southpaw has scored 401 runs in 14 matches played with a best knock of an unbeaten 78 and has smashed three fifties so far. But he comes up against the spin of Mohammed Nabi, who is known to tame big hitters. The Afghan has been productive this season and with Rashid already delivering the goods, Nabi is a spinner that Pant will have to keep a look out for.
Manish Pandey vs Sandeep Lamichhane
Returning to form just in time for Hyderabad, Manish Pandey has been scintillating so far and the explosive batsman has been Sunrisers go-to man since David Warner and Jonny Bairstow left for their national sides. In 11 innings, Pandey has scored 314 runs including three fifties with a best score of an unbeaten 83. But what would be interesting to witness how will Pandey come up against Delhi's Sandeep Lamichhane. The mystery spinner from Nepal has claimed some crucial wickets in his maiden IPL season. In 9 matches played, he has taken 13 wickets and an impressive economy rate. The battle between the two will surely be engaging.
Probable Playing XIs:
SRH: Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Martin Guptill, Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson (C), Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan/Abhishek Sharma, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, K Khaleel Ahmed, Basil Thampi