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Qualifier 2 Preview: Can Hyderabad stop redemption-seeking Delhi?

Hyderabad take on Delhi for the third time this Indian T20 League season as their face-off in Qualifier 2 will decide the second finalist of the tournament. The Orange Army’s journey thus far has been nothing short of historic, as they managed to reach this stage with a glorious run of four consecutive wins despite losing seven of their first eleven league matches.

Delhi, on the other hand, have been suicidal. Though the rejuvenated side under Ricky Ponting’s management saw the side finish the league stages in the second position, Shreyas Iyer’s men have won just once in their last five matches and now sit on the verge of elimination after a brilliant campaign.

Though a struggling Hyderabad side was the last side to qualify for the play-offs they had managed to do the double over Delhi this season, which makes Delhi chances look slim. Delhi have also lost thrice in their last five clashes against Hyderabad.

 

KEY BATTLES

Shikhar Dhawan vs Kane Williamson

If Delhi ever wanted Shikhar Dhawan to be at his peak hard-hitting form, it will be now. The southpaw’s underwhelming run in the last few matches have directly reflected in Delhi’s performances and the opener’s momentum will be quintessential in preventing another top-order crumble for Delhi. Dhawan has scored a massive 525 runs in 15 matches this season with an average of 43.75, which includes three fifties and an impressive two centuries.

Kane Williamson has been the calm and composed guardian that David Warner’s Hyderabad was missing earlier in the season. The New Zealand skipper’s assured batting in the anchor’s role has allowed Warner, Wriddhiman Saha, Jason Holder and Manish Pandey to bat freely. It was Williamson’s 44-balls-50 that helped Hyderabad cross the line against Bangalore on Friday.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Rishabh Pant

Though Rishabh Pant has had an unusual season in Delhi shirt this time, the pocket dynamite remains Delhi’s one weapon to negate all other weapons. Coming to the fore in 2018, where Pant tallied a mammoth 684 runs in a season, the youngster has since been a mainstay for his side. Though he has managed only 285 runs this season, a drop from the national squad and his side’s place in the tournament at stake should be motivation enough for the batsman to rise.

 

David Warner

This is the sixth season David Warner has crossed the 500-run mark in the Indian T20 League, thus personifying consistency. Warner’s tally of 546 runs this season needs a special mention with everyone else in his team struggling for form, and the skipper remains Hyderabad’s first man on the firing line.

 

PREDICTED XI

Hyderabad: David Warner (c), Wriddhiman Saha, Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Jason Holder, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Sharma, T. Natarajan, Priyam Garg

Delhi: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Axar Patel, Daniel Sams

 

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