DUBAI: After two successive defeats, Sunrisers Hyderabad look to improve their standings on the points table of Indian Premier League (IPL) when they take on an inconsistent Delhi Daredevils, who are expecting the return of their regular skipper and star player Kevin Pietersen. Unlike last year, Hyderabad, beyond everybody's expectations, made the playoffs but in the seventh edition their campaign has got off to a shaky start after first losing to Rajasthan Royals by four wickets and in the next game suffering a crushing defeat bye 72 runs at the hands of Kings XI Punjab.
On the other hand, Delhi's start has been a mixed one as they were defeated by Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight wickets but bounced back with a win in their second outing against Kolkata Knight Riders. But in their last match against the Chennai Super Kings, stand-in skipper Dinesh Karthik's Delhi suffered a heavy 93-run loss. With Pietersen expected to be fit for the Hyderabad game on Friday, after missing his side's three matches due to a finger injury, it can lift the morale of the Delhi squad. If he plays, Delhi's batting will be boosted and his experience can turn the tide in the team's favour.
In the sixth edition, Hyderabad had managed to pull off victories in low-scoring games but somehow this year the Shikhar Dhawan-led side has failed to put up enough score on the board. More than the batting, the fielding hurt Hyderabad in their last match against Punjab and before Friday's match the team management needs to fix these issues. Hyderabad boast of having two explosive openers in the form of Aaron Finch and David Warner but both of them have failed to live up to their reputation so far. Dhawan himself is struggling and the middle-order comprising of Lokesh Rahul and Venugopal Rao are yet to prove their worth.
The pace duo of Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar has done considerably well, especially the Indian pacer under the South African's guidance has claimed four wickets from two matches. Amit Mishra has managed to pick up two wickets in each match but the legspinner gave away a lot of runs in the Punjab game. While for Delhi, Mohammad Shami and Jaydev Unadkat have done well but the side will be affected by the absence of Nathan Coulter-Nile, who suffered a hamstring injury during the game against Chennai. Moreover, Delhi appear thin on its spin department with legspinner Shahbaz Nadeem and part-timer JP Duminy looking innocuous so far.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Aaron Finch, David Warner, KL Rahul (wk), Venugopal Rao, Irfan Pathan, Darren Sammy, Karn Sharma, Dale Steyn, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Delhi Daredevils: Mayank Agarwal, Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Kevin Pietersen (c), Manoj Tiwary, JP Duminy, Ross Taylor, Jimmy Neesham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammad Shami, Jaydev Unadkat.
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