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Morne Morkel leaps to field the ball, Delhi Daredevils v Chennai Super Kings, IPL, Delhi, April 18, 2013

Sunrisers Hyderabad are among the four teams who are closer to achieving the magic number of nine wins – Chennai Super Kings having already touched the marker – to qualify for the playoffs, assuming there are no major upheavals. They need at least three more wins out of their remaining six matches, four of which are to be played in Hyderabad, their fortress. They take on a resurgent Delhi Daredevils side, the captain of which had his smile restored after consecutive wins in Raipur.


Daredevils’ campaign is under life-support – they need six wins in six matches – but every extra breath they draw will be at the expense of others, a fact Sunrisers need to be wary of. Daredevils have a strong pool of impact players; the same group took them to No. 1 in the points table last year. David Warner has been the best of them all this year – with four half-centuries – and has been pushed down from his usual top-three batting spot to lend some stability to a fragile middle order. Their bowling is pace-heavy, but slightly more dependable than their batting. Now if only Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene – the only other two batsmen to have scored half-centuries for Daredevils this season – can raise their games against arguably the most well-rounded bowling attack, Daredevils can continue to smile.


The pitch in Hyderabad is on the slower side and offered generous turn to the spinners in the last match. It also helps the faster bowlers because the batsmen find it difficult to hit through the line. The pace-bowling spearheads of both teams have a similar make-up – Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma against Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav – but there is a wide gulf otherwise. Amit Mishra, Karan Sharma and Thisara Perera have tasted success this season. If Shahbaz Nadeem, Irfan Pathan and Ashish Nehra are able to adjust to the conditions, another tight contest can be expected.