In 2016, Sunrisers Hyderabad overcame the odds to win three games in a matter of five days to clinch the title. Almost four and a half years later, they are tasked with a similar challenge.
But this one won’t guarantee them the title. This won’t even guarantee them a playoff spot but if they do manage to win all three of their remaining games over the next 7 days, they will remain in the hunt to reach the last four.
For a team that has won only four games this season, losing seven, it’s a massive challenge. What makes it even harder is that those games are against the top three sides of the competition – Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Is it really an impossible task though? Kings XI Punjab will shrug off such suggestions. They came back from the dead and boosted their own chances by pulling off exactly the same. So SRH can definitely afford to take inspiration from KXIP’s turnaround.
And among those three teams, DC stand in SRH’s path first up. DC find themselves in the midst of a jittery run, having lost their last two games, so SRH would want to believe they are probably facing them at the right time. But Ricky Ponting knows that losing cannot become a habit now especially at the fag end of the tournament.
They do have a concern right at the top of the order that they will look to address. While Shikhar Dhawan’s transformation has given them a boost, runs aren’t being scored at the other end. Prithvi Shaw is going through a lean run and Ajinkya Rahane hasn’t clicked at all so far. Rishabh Pant too hasn’t been his usual destructive-self this season, with an alarming drop in the strike rate compared to the last two years. If he can find some form on Tuesday (October 27), DC will be well served going ahead.
SRH’s issues lie predominantly in the batting department as well. Runs are starting to dry up from Jonny Bairstow’s bat and David Warner hasn’t been at his marauding best this season. Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar have shown some encouraging signs and Jason Holder’s entry should provide more assurance in that middle order. But they certainly cannot afford another collapse like the one they had in their most recent encounter against KXIP. DC’s bowling lineup is a lot stronger which puts a lot of onus on the top 4 to deliver.