Sunrisers Hyderabad will take on Titans in the first of Saturday's (September 27) two matches at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi, in what promises to be a thrilling encounter in the Champions League Twenty20 2013. Both are teams packed with quality players through the line-up, and both will know the significance of a win as Group B enters its final phase.
After playing two matches, Titans and Hyderabad have a win and a loss each, although Hyderabad sit above Titans in the points table thanks to a marginally better net run-rate. With two games to play, the winner of this match will be much better placed to qualify for the semifinals.
Hyderabad can take heart from their performance against Chennai Super Kings on Thursday. Even though they suffered a 12-run loss, they managed to reach 190 in their chase of 202 with a performance filled with spirit and fight. Had it not been for a ballistic 19-ball 63 from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Chennai captain, Hyderabad may well have gone home happier. Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel provided Hyderabad with a brisk start, and put on 87 within ten overs. While three quick wickets then derailed their chase, Hyderabad's fight was best epitomised by Darren Sammy, who scored a 25-ball 50 late on, despite being in pain after injuring his foot.
Another pleasing development for Hyderabad, and it's something the Titans are sure to make note of, is the performance of Dale Steyn. After four games in which he failed to perform up to his own lofty standards, Steyn returned figures of 4-0-23-2 against Chennai. He dismissed Murali Vijay with his second delivery, but more impressively, he denied batsmen room, kept up the pressure in the death overs and was the most economical of Hyderabad's bowlers at 5.75.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, David Wiese revealed that Titans had special strategies planned to contain Steyn. "We have played against Dale Steyn a lot and we have got our game plans against him," he said. "But make no mistake, he is a quality bowler and he is a bowler that you want to get on top of early on in the innings. We have certain strategies and game plans that we are going to look to implement and hopefully it comes off well for us."
Titans have big guns of their own in AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel, and they head into this game on the back of a narrow, four-run win over Brisbane Heat. While their batting let them down in that match, the bowlers put in a fine performance as Brisbane were bowled out for just 119, with Marchant de Lange returning impressive figures of 3 for 13.
Hyderabad will be wary of de Villiers and his ability to turn the match on its head. Against Chennai in their CLT20 opener, de Villiers slammed a 36-ball 77 in a knock which included everything from sweeps to scoops. A highlight of the match on Saturdaywill be the clash between Steyn and de Villiers, both South African team-mates. How de Villiers handles Steyn, if they face each other, could have a huge say in the outcome of the match.
In de Villiers, Morkel and Roelof van der Merwe, Titans have players with experience of Indian conditions, and Wiese believed that would help them make the best use of the conditions. "What is nice for us is that we have players who have been part of the IPL and know these conditions well," he said. "Also our coach (Rob) Walter has been a part of the Delhi Daredevils and was also the assistant coach for Pune Warriors. He knows the conditions well and we have worked quite hard on working in specific conditions and technically changing one or two things in our game so that we can make best use of the conditions out here."
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Parthiv Patel (wk), JP Duminy, Biplab Samantray, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy, Ashish Reddy, Karan Sharma, Amit Mishra, Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma, G Hanuma Vihari, Cameron White, Clint McKay, Anand Rajan.
Titans: Henry Davids (capt), Jacques Rudolph, AB de Villiers, Farhaan Behardien, Heino Kuhn, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Morne Morkel, Marchant de Lange, Rowan Richards, Ethy Mbhalati, Cornelius de Villiers, Eden Links, Graeme van Buuren.