A confident Sunrisers Hyderabad, on a two-match winning run, will face a rejuvenated Rising Pune Supergiant in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Saturday.
Earlier this week, Hyderabad defeated Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils at home and now they play their third away match. They had lost their earlier two away matches.
And come Saturday, they will be keen to win the Pune clash so that they can take the confidence to their coming away games at Bengaluru and Mohali.
Australian Steven Smith-led Pune, who defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last match to end a three-match losing streak on Sunday, will be fresh and raring to go after a five-day break. Pune team, which has won two matches from five games, must have utilised the five-day break as a period to recharge their batteries and retrospect themselves with the middle campaign of the IPL about to reach.
To overcome a strong team like Hyderabad, Pune will have to put up a strong show with both the bat and the ball. Pune will be expecting Smith, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary and Ben Stokes to fire in order to post a good total.
Pune’s bowling, always the weak link, must be confident after restricting a powerful RCB batting line-up to 134/9 in pursuit of 162. A lot will depend on how veteran South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir performs.
Medium pacers Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Stokes and Daniel Christian will again need to raise the bar as they will be up against the likes of a top-heavy Hyderabad batting line-up, which features David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson. Australian left-handed opener Warner has been leading the way for them, having notched 239 run in six innings so far.
Williamson in the last match plundered 89 off 51 against Delhi Daredevils in his opening match of this edition. He was included because of the off-colour performances of Yuvraj Singh (96 runs) and Deepak Hooda (59 runs).
In Ashish Nehra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hyderabad have two of India’s best shortest format medium pacers. Bhuvneshwar is currently the highest wicket-taker with 15 scalps. Meanwhile, Hyderabad’s newly acquired Afghan spin pair of Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi has been impressive. But due to Williamson, Warner may leave Nabi out of the team.