HYDERABAD: “What happens when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object?” This age old paradox fits conveniently when one tries to guess the result of the Sunrisers Hyderabad-Rising Pune Supergiant clash at RGIS here on Saturday. Both will be looking to consolidate their position in the top four.
SRH are the ‘immovable object’ at home and RPS the ‘force’, owing to their hat-trick wins against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gujarat Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Though SRH are ranked below their opponents in the points table, their boat has been a lot steadier. They have easily maintained a place among the top four. On the other hand, RPS have peaked at the business end of the championship to be placed third. An important factor in either teams’ success has been optimum utilisation of the Powerplay. The visitors have a higher Powerplay average of 53, but the fact that the protectors of the Uppal fortress have not lost more than a solitary wicket inside the first six overs and averaged 51.5 is commendable.
If the last three outings — 60/0, 79/0 and 66/1 for SRH and 43/1, 43/4 and 74/2 for RPS — of both the teams in the Powerplays are compared, it is again the Orange Warriors who have come out with flying colours. This can be attributed to the fact that SRH skipper and Orange Cap holder David Warner has started taking the aerial route right from the start, an old habit which he had avoided during the first half of the tournament.
“We had discussions about it three matches ago and we thought that we were about 10 runs short in the Powerplays. But even then the team was content that the openers had ensured safe starts,” explained SRH coach Tom Moody on Friday.
When it comes to RPS, Rahul Tripathi has carried the Powerplay burden almost single-handedly. While it was Mumbai Indians’ southpaw Nitish Rana hogging the limelight a few nights ago, these days the cameras have shifted their focus to Tripathi. The youngster has more than eclipsed his veteran opening partner Ajinkya Rahane, after registering 352 runs in 9 encounters.
The 26-year-old has the best Powerplay aggregate to his name and has shown a special liking for pace. Asked about his affinity towards the pacers (224 runs against speedsters at strike rate of 159), he retorted: “I am just trying to take the attack to the opposition. There is no specific reason behind my success against pacers. I just contemplate hitting the ball, whatever be the type of ball and I am overjoyed that I have used the Powerplays very well.”
With MI sealing a spot in the playoffs, three places are up for grabs and the race to the finish line is very much open with Kings XI Punjab breathing down SRH’s neck. Even Delhi Daredevils could fancy a spot. The home team would love to prolong their status as the only team to remain unbeaten at home this season and further cement their place.