Preview: Sunrisers Hyderabad will aim to continue their winning streak when they face Rising Pune Supergiants in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here on Tuesday.
Hyderabad had a poor start to their campaign, losing the first two matches. But they have staged a fine recovery by winning three matches on the trot, which has taken them to the fourth spot in the eight-team standings with six points from five games.
File picture of David Warner. BCCI
They have a strong batting line-up which includes the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Eion Morgan, Kane Williamson and the veteran Yuvraj Singh.
Warner has been in great form so far and has struck four half-centuries in five matches to be the second highest scorer with 294 runs. The Australian's opening partner Dhawan seems to have finally snapped out of his prolonged run of poor form after good performances in the last two matches.
The left-hander from Delhi batted through the innings along with Warner to post an unbeaten 53 and take Hyderabad to a 10-wicket win over IPL debutants Gujarat Lions. He was in fine touch in the last match against KIngs XI Punjab as well, and was unlucky to miss out on a half-century.
Henriques, Morgan and wicket-keeper Naman Ojha have also done well with the bat for Hyderabad.
Hyderabad also have a high quality pace attack spearheaded by New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult. Although veteran pacer Ashish Nehra is down with an injury, Hyderabad has not really felt his absence thanks to the in-form duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman.
Bhuvneshwar is currently occupying the second place in the bowlers' list with eight wickets in five games. Left-arm Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur has also been impressive so far, and is fourth on the wicket takers list with seven scalps. He also boasts a good economy rate of 5.75 runs per over.
Ben Cutting of Australia and Barinder Sran, who recently made his debut for India, are also good options in the pace department. Hyderabad also have top class all-rounders in Yuvraj Singh, Moises Henriques and Karn Sharma.
Pune, on the other hand, seem to have lost their way a bit. They started off in promising fashion with a commanding nine-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2016 opener. But they have struggled to find the right combination since and have lost four consecutive matches. They are second from the bottom in the table with just two points.
Despite their poor run, Pune are a strong side on paper. Opener Ajinkya Rahane has been in excellent form with three half-centuries in five matches. But the rest of the batting line-up has been inconsistent. The likes of Steven Smith and Faf du Plessis need to step up and make themselves count at the top of the batting order.
Pune suffered a blow when former England star Kevin Pietersen was ruled out of the tournament after suffering a calf injury during the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The visitors also have excellent pace bowling all-rounders in Mitchell Marsh and Albie Morkel. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni can also bank on the likes of Sri Lankan fast bowler Thisara Perera, the experienced Ishant Sharma and the young Murugan Ashwin.
But Dhoni has yet to find the right balance and combination in the playing XI and needs to sort out the problems quickly if Pune are to improve their fortunes.