Gujarat Titans v Sunrisers Hyderabad
Wednesday 27 April, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Pandya bailing his side out
Seven games, six wins. Who would have thought it?
Every IPL side would love to have any one of Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson or Rashid Khan. They might even take all three.
But if they could pick Gujarat batsmen, who would they want? Right now, the only man who would get into one of the better IPL teams just as a batter is Hardik Pandya, who ironically, is an all-rounder.
It’s great for Pandya, Gujarat and arguably India that he’s batting so well but rather like with Jos Buttler at Rajasthan, what are they going to do when he gets out cheaply? Well, they’ll have to cross that bridge when they come to it because right now, he’s scoring fifties at will.
But with Matthew Wade now dropped (probably rightly), they’re down to just one or two players who can come good with the bat if he has an off-day.
Pandya by the way, didn’t bowl during their win over KKR. With five frontline bowlers plus Rahul Tewatia in the side he’s arguably not needed but they did look a bit better when he was available and bowling in the Powerplay overs.
If they’re concerned about their batting going forward, they may consider replacing Alzarri Joseph with bowling all-rounder Dominic Drakes, who’s the better batsman.
Gujarat’s Likely XI
Saha, Gill, Pandya, Miller, Manohar, Tewatia, Khan, Joseph, Dayal, Shami, Ferguson.
Can SRH win in a chase?
What do you make of SRH?
A really good bowling side under an excellent captain with three overseas batsmen with real class about them?
Or a good side with a questionable middle order who has just been extremely fortunate in winning seven (yes, seven) tosses in a row and making the most of the fact they got to chase in all of them, and won the last five doing just that?
Well, we’ll have to wait till Kane Williamson does eventually lose a toss and they have to bat first to see if they’re just a one-trick pony.
It’s certainly not Williamson’s fault he keeps calling right.
More to the point, any side as strong with the ball as they are (or Gujarat as well, for that matter) is always going to be competitive. And then some.
Those five in a row have seen them go into second place in the table and into third favourites at 5.69/2 to go all the way. They’ve been matched at a high of 65.064/1.
Washington Sundar should be back after picking up a hand injury and missing three matches on the spin.
Sunrisers’ Likely XI
Sharma, Williamson, Tripathi, Pooran, Markram, Singh, Sundar, Kumar, Jansen, Natarajan, Malik.
We’re at the famous Wankhede Stadium for this one.
The last three here saw Rajasthan get 222 against Delhi on Friday, which the Capitals came remarkably close to chasing.
Lucknow made a decent 168 thanks to a masterclass from KL Rahul and it’s a good thing for them he batted so well because no-one else got going.
Neither did anyone from Mumbai, everyone finding the surface a little two-paced on the day. Mumbai fell well short.
And then on Monday, the Punjab Kings posted a very competitive 188 in another odd innings where only Shikhar Dhawan got going. In the end it was also enough to beat CSK and in the process, it means the last three have all been won by the side batting first.
SRH value in the chase
Gujarat are 1.875/6, a reflection of the fact they’re top of the table and have arguably the best bowling line-up of anyone at the tournament.
But SRH are just one win behind and arguably have the second-best bowling line-up of anyone. They probably have a better battling line-up than Gujarat, as well.
Of course, we don’t know how the Sunrisers will fare batting first, because we haven’t seen them do it yet.
Gujarat have proved they can do both, winning three having first digs and three chasing, so they’re a versatile team.
By the way, the one that the Titans didn’t win was against this lot, posting a below-par 162, chased with ease by Hyderabad at the DY Patil Stadium.
Given that game, the fact that there isn’t a big toss bias at this ground and that there’s not much to choose between them, SRH look the pre-toss pick at 2.111/10.
But the safer strategy might be to wait for the toss and take anything above 1.9620/21 if Hyderabad get to chase once again seeing as that’s obviously what they prefer doing.
Kane could be able
Let’s look at the three batsmen who shone in the last three games here at the Wankhede, also being the top match batsman in the process: Jos Buttler, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan.
What do they have in common? They’re all opening batsmen, are all over 30 years old and are class acts rather than sloggers. The last point is important because the Wankhede has been a tougher pitch than in the past and it can’t all be big shots. You need expertise to compile scores here.
The one player ticking all those boxes is Williamson.
Many will question how it’s possible that he’s striking at 94 for the season and is still opening. Not to mention, SRH are still winning.
But that’s Williamson for you and to be fair to him, he’s been well aware that in a chase they need him around batting cautiously, rather than being in the hutch after batting recklessly.
He’s been boosted to 10/3 to be SRH top bat and following my rationale, that’s a good enough price at it is. But with only Pandya to worry about for the Titans, I’ll push the boat out and take the 5/1 he’s the top batsman in the match.
Under-the-radar Dayal boasting excellent strike rate
The odds-compilers can’t split Khan, Ferguson and Shami, all 11/4 shots to be Gujarat top bowler. They’re on eight, nine and 10 wickets respectively.
But with six wickets to his name in just three matches, you can go with Yash Dayal, whose strike rate is 12.0, the best of anyone in the side, despite it being from a smaller sample of matches.
It’s possible that SRH will feel they need to show respect to those famed three, taking what they can, and need to target the rest.
Which of course includes Dayal.
It’s a punt all right because we’ve spent half this preview praising all three of them. But then again, they’re the price they are and Dayal is considerably bigger at 9/2.