Both Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad have had different journeys in IPL 2019. While Delhi, under the leadership of a young captain Shreyas Iyer, has entered the Playoff stage with high authority, winning 9 out of their 14 games, Hyderabad won just 6 and made it through because of the marvelous efforts of David Warner and Johnny Bairstow. Hyderabad became the first team in IPL history to enter the Playoff stag with just 12 points.
Had Delhi not lost their penultimate league game against Chennai Super Kings by 80 runs, they would have still been in the top two. Regardless, Delhi begins the Eliminator of IPL 2019 as clear favorites.
Hyderabad has the edge
In Shikhar Dhawan (486 runs in 14 matches) and Shreyas Iyer (442 runs in 14 games), Delhi has a solid and dependable top order. Young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant (401 runs in 14 matches) has shown maturity in his past few games and will be the big X-Factor for Delhi in the middle-order as his strike-rate this season has been 157.87.
Delhi’s bowling has variety and is headed by the young South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada who has been sensational for the team with 25 wickets in 12 games at an economy of just 7.82. The likes of Ishant Sharma, Chris Morris, Axar Patel and Amit Mishra will give him able company.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, on the other hand, have been depleted after the departure of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. The Aussie and the Englishman accumulated 1137 runs between them this season as openers and did the significant bulk of the scoring for Hyderabad. That the Sunrisers were dependent on the duo is a massive understatement. With Warner and Bairstow having left for international duties, the side is struggling with its batting.
Captain Kane Williamson smashed his first fifty of the season in the last game, but he still hasn’t looked authoritative. The others like Vijay Shankar, Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan have been massive disappointments. The only silver lining for Hyderabad is the form of Manish Pandey (314 runs in 11 matches with three fifties) who is looking fluent and is holding the middle-order together.
Hyderabad’s bowling, which was its asset in the previous seasons, has been average this year with Rashid Khan, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Nabi and Sandeep Sharma doing well only in patches. Only left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed has been consistently good.
Pitch condition and Delhi vs Hyderabad Prediction:
This is the first match of IPL 2019 being played at the Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam. There have just been two T20Is played at the venue thus far, and both of them were low-scoring affairs. The pitch here has been known to be even, with something in it for the batsmen but it will assist the bowlers who know how to mix things up.
The team batting first should get something in the range of 160, and it might be a difficult chase.
With the IPL now entering its final stage, one expects some high-octane cricket being played. However, given Delhi’s rise in the tournament and Hyderabad struggling without its two best international stars, it is very likely that Delhi Capitals will emerge the winners in the Eliminator.