When the IPL-6 match gets underway at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Friday, the city will see a new franchise in Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The franchise replaced the defunct Deccan Chargers and the city fans will eagerly be waiting for a change in the fortunes. The home team has a terrible record at this venue. Call it home jinx or whatever. They have lost 15 out of the 18 matches held here since 2008. Incidentally, there were no matches held in 2009 and in 2010.
For Sunrisers, this is history. They want to start afresh. In Pune Warriors, who languished at the bottom of the table with the Hyderabad team at eighth position, both teams will seek to redeem their images. Coincidentally, Sri Lankan players are at the helm of affairs for both teams. While Kumar Sangakarra leads Sunrisers, Angelo Mathews will captain Pune Warriors. This year’s IPL is surrounded by the Lankan players controversy as they are barred from playing in Chennai.
Controversy apart, Sangakkara will look to erase the bad memories of last year when as captain he saw his team (Deccan Chargers) sink. It is time for revival.
With world number one fast bowler Dale Steyn, Sangakkara, who himself is a classy batsman, would be hoping to make a winning start to their campaign. A fit Ishant Sharma could form a formidable pace duo with Steyn, who bowled a fiery spell against Royal Challengers last year. Sunrisers made a couple of additions to the team and brought in players like Darren Sammy (West Indies), Nathan McCullum (New Zealand) and Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka), all ideal players for this format. However, injured star player Shikhar Dhawan would not be available.
A fit Amit Mishra could play a vital role for Sunrisers while it will be a big moment for local talents like Ashish Reddy and Akshath Reddy, who performed creditably well last season.
Warriors had a miserable season last year. They have now made former South African pace Allan Donald as full time coach. Donald has the task of injecting fire into the team. They have game-changers like Ross Taylor, Steve Smith, Marlon Samuels, Yuvraj Singh, Luke Wright who can swing the fortunes with the bat. The Pune team has Indian pace bowling attack of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Ashok Dinda along with Lanka's Ajantha Mendis to give teeth to the bowling. For the tall T Suman, it will be a homecoming of sorts.