Match 6 IPL 2017 (2017-04-09) @ Hyderabad (D)
The Sunrisers won all three games between these two teams in Gujarat's inaugural season last year. Both teams have played once this season. SRH beat RCB at home and GL were blown away by Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn.
The Sunrisers could be missing their star bowler Mustafizur Rahman again. Their attack was strong enough against a weak RCB side but a Lions side packed with international stars could present them with more problems.
The Lions played 4 overseas batsmen in their opener. They are still missing Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja. They have to consider playing either Faulkner or Tye to strengthen their bowling.
Overall the Sunrisers have a much more balanced side with the ability to shuffle their international stars to suit whatever conditions they are given. In contrast the Lions are batting heavy. They have only won 14% of matches where they have had to defend a total.
The Sunrisers defied the statistics to defend a total against RCB. It was only a brilliant run out of Jadhav by Ben Cutting that allowed this to happen. The record is still 75% of teams chasing in the last 3 seasons (and 1 match) have won.
The Sunrisers are rightfully favourites for match but I cannot back them at the 1.71 currently available on Betfair. I will wait until the toss and back the team batting second. This strategy failed in the first match but with the Lions so much stronger chasing than setting it makes sense.
Against RCB David Warner failed scoring just 14 runs for 8. After dominating last season scoring 848 runs Sunrisers fans might have been worried by this. The rest of the batting order stood up showing the depth available in the team.
Dhawan and Moises Henriques steadied the ship before accelerating against poor RCB bowling. Dhawan scoreed 40 off 31 and Henriques 52 off 37. Yuraj played a gem of an innings scoring 62 off 27.
Hooda and Cutting finished off the innings with some big hits. With Kane Williamson also available SRH have a strong batting line up.
SRH used 7 bowlers in their defence of 207 in their first match. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was their best bowler returning 2 for 27 off his 4 overs. Nehra took the wickets of Watson and Aravind but was expensive going at 10.5 runs an over.
Rashid Khan got 2 wickets at the top of the innings on his debut. The Afghan showed why he is rated 2nd in the T20 Cricsq bowling ratings. Ben Cutting was expensive going at 9.5 an over. He could be replaced by Khan's co-patriot Nabi if a spin allrounder is required.
The Lions decided to pack their team with four overseas stars who like to open the innings. Despite this the bulk of their runs were scored by Indians Suresh Raina (35 from 24) and Dinesh Karthik (47 from 25).
Dwayne Smith batted at 6 and did not get to face a ball. It is a waste of an overseas player to have such a hitter unused. He is a strong opening batsmen not a quality allrounder. His one over went for 23.
The Lions have two choices. Either they keep all four batsmen in the side and hope they bat second and chase down whatever total is set or change the balance of their side.
One or even two of Roy, McCullum, Finch and Smith needs to be left out in order to make way for one or two overseas bowlers.
The bowling performance by the Lions against KKR was terrible. Gambhir and Lynn played well but to knock off 184 runs in 14.5 overs is not acceptable at this level. The 183 set was an above par score and the Lions never looked like defending it.
6 bowlers were used. Gony on his return after 3 years out of the IPL went for 32 in his two overs. Their top wicket taker from 2016, Dhawal Kulkarni went for 42 in 17 balls.
Jakati went at 10 an over and Dwayne Smith conceded 23 off his one over. Only the seamer Praveen Kumar managed any control. His 2 overs went for 13.
Last season the Lions only defended 1 total in 7 attempts. This is 1 from 8 after the performance against KKR. With Jadeja and Bravo injured their only options are Faulkner and Andre Tye. Faulkner could bat at 6 instead of Smith. Including Tye instead of an overseas batsman would change the balance of the side. The Australian pace bowler had a successful BBL with Perth and has won 65% of T20 league matches he has played with an economy rate of 7.7.
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