Hyderabad: Manish Pandey could perhaps be one of the biggest disappointments for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). When in full cry, Pandey is a game-changer for any team. But his repeated failure with the willow has hurt the Hyderabad team badly in the IPL campaigns.
The brittle middle order continues to be a nightmare for the SRH team even as they face table toppers Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Wednesday’s match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.
Sunday’s capitulation against Delhi Capitals exposed the weak SRH middle-order yet again. Vijay Shankar, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Abhishek Sharma all fell in a heap. The DC pace quartet of Keemo Paul, Kansigo Rabada, Ishant Sharma and Chris Morris proved too hot for the SRH batsmen.
Team SRH is helpless. Therefore, players like Pandey or Vijay Shankar need to raise the bar. SRH cannot rely too much on the in-form openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. The World Cup selection should at least motivate the Tamil Nadu all-rounder to play a bigger role henceforth. He has yet to show his three-dimensional abilities for SRH.
Warner expressed his disappointment after the Sunday collapse. He clearly blamed the middle order for the defeat. With the World Cup around the corner, Warner (Australia) and Bairstow (England) will soon leave for their respective countries for their national camps. The scenario is not rosy and the absence of the Australian-England pair and other World Cup players could put additional pressure on the SRH team.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who played his second match on his return from injury on Sunday, looked out of sorts. On Wednesday, it will be a big challenge for SRH when they face the strong CSK team, which is riding high with seven wins from eight matches. On the other hand, SRH are in sixth spot with only three wins but four defeats from seven matches.
The return of 21-year-old left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed is certainly one of the positive factors in otherwise disastrous show. Ahmed bowled a probing spell while Bhuvneshwar Kumar got back his confidence. But leg-spinner Rashid Khan has yet to get back to his match-winning spells. The Afghan has at the best been restrictive but has not returned with good haul of wickets.
On the contrary, the CSK team is oozing with confidence. They have tasted one defeat and it came against Mumbai Indians in Mumbai. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as usual, has provided the leadership thrust and on Wednesday one would not be surprised if there is more support to the Chennai team than to the hosts. Surely, there would be plenty of Dhoni fans in the full-house Stadium.
CSK have emerged winners from close encounters but most importantly they held their nerves in tight situations to wriggle out of the woods. South paw Suresh Raina has been solid while top scorer Dhoni has been a vital cog in the middle order. It will be a homecoming for Ambati Rayudu. This will be a good chance for Rayudu to ride over the disappointment for not being selected for the World Cup.
It is Imran Tahir who has been outstanding in CSK’s good run this season. The veteran South African leg spinner has shown lot of variations to trouble the batsmen. Equally impressive has been Deepak Chahar. Apart from his wicket-taking abilities, the pace bowler has been a stand-out performer in the death overs.
The odds are heavily stacked against SRH as CSK look unstoppable.