Mohali: Sunrisers Hyderabad make their Champions League debut on the back of some impressive performances during the qualification stage of the tournament. Led admirably by Shikhar Dhawan, they have shown to be deserving candidates for promotion with an emphatic eight-wicket win over Kandurata Maroons, and an equally convincing seven-wicket victory over Faisalabad Wolves to confirm their participation in the Champions League.
Boasting some of the best T20 bowlers in the world, Trinidad & Tobago will be a significant challenge. They completed a 25-run win over the Brisbane Heat in the second match of the group stage, with Ravi Rampaul helping them defend 135 with 4 for 14. Their attack is well-balanced, with Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree and Rayad Emrit also capable of running through a line-up. Their batting may not be as strong as it could be, with the unavailability of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, but they still feature some fine internationals in Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo and Denesh Ramdin.
This could very well be a battle between two strong bowling attacks, so expect some middling scores in this contest. Dhawan has been in imperious form, but if he were to be nipped out early, it would be interesting to see how Sunrisers counteract. While their middle order was tested somewhat by Otago in their previous match, with JP Duminy stepping up with 57, there are still some questions to be answered in how well they can respond in a crisis. They will continue to rely on the big hitters – Cameron White, Darren Sammy and Thisara Perera – to help them out under such circumstances.
T&T had a successful inaugural edition of the CLT20, making it to the final before losing to New South Wales. Since then, however, they have suffered a forgettable record, having failed to make the cut in 2010 and 2011, and not progressing out of the group stage in 2012. They will hope to begin correcting this with this first encounter against Hyderabad.
Players to watch
Having enjoyed a thus far fabulous 2013, Shikhar Dhawan is the big wicket for T&T. He is the third-highest run-scorer of the tournament so far with 142 runs, and his two fifties during the qualification stage went a long way in securing Sunrisers’ progression. He has looked equally comfortable against pace and spin, on the front and back foot. It will be interesting to see what tactics are drawn up by the opposition, who will need to find a way to get past him in order to expose an under-utilised Sunrisers middle order.
With 47 wickets in the previous two IPL tournaments, Sunil Narine poses a significant threat. His record against Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2013 was rather mixed. He was ineffective in the home match against them, with figures of 1 for 31 in his four overs. In their next match, however, he produced a miserly spell of four overs for just 11 runs. With a solitary wicket in eight overs against them, Hyderabad will hope for their luck to continue.
“The confidence is still high. This was a match where we wanted to try things and analyse what went wrong and what went right.”
Hyderabad captain Shikhar Dhawan believes his side will bounce back strongly after their loss to Otago Volts
“[Narine] is one of the best spinners in the world and he showed it tonight. It was an eye opener for our lads who hadn’t seen him before.”
James Hopes, the Brisbane Heat captain, whose team suffered at the hands of Trinidad & Tobago’s bowlers