Sunrisers Hyderabad will aim to stop a resurgent Rising Pune Supergiant when both teams clash in the Indian Premier League on Friday in a bid to cement their place in the play-offs.
Pune are placed third in the points table with 14 points from 11 matches, having won six out of their last seven games. Sunrisers, on the other hand, are in fourth position with 13 points from 11 games.
Pune came on top in their previous meeting against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens, where rookie opener Rahul Tripathi produced a special knock of 93 off 52 balls to add to his impressive run in his maiden IPL.
The team has found great momentum at the business end of the tournament and seems to be peaking at the right time. It was Tripathi's single-handed effort on Wednesday that led Pune to succeed against the formidable Kolkata side.
Come tomorrow, Tripathi would be expected to repeat his dazzling performance against the Sunrisers. Ben Stokes, IPL's costliest buy, too proved his worth with the bat when he hit his maiden T20 century (103 off 63 balls) against Gujarat Lions.
The bowlers too have been performing their roles well. The disciplined bowling by pacer Jayadev Unadkat contributed in a big way to their side's win against KKR. Washington Sundar too scalped two wickets in the match.
The Pune bowlers need to be at their best in tomorrow's match to rein in Sunrisers captain David Warner, who is the tournament leading scores with 489 runs at 61.12.
Though Sunrisers are not too successful in away matches, they are like a battle-ready Army on their home turf. Captain Warner had said his team would like to take full advantage of playing at home and turn the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Uppal into a virtual 'fortress'.
"The thing here is that we are trying to turn this ground into our fortress. Every team tries to win as many games at home as they can," said Warner, who enthralled one and all with his 59-ball 126 in a match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the home ground earlier.
In addition to Warner, other Sunrisers batsmen -- Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Moises Henriques -- have been in fine form. Though in a lost cause, the seasoned Yuvraj Singh helped his side make a big total with his 70-run knock against Delhi Daredevils.
The Sunrisers are known for their lethal bowling attack, especially at home. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who holds the Purple Cap, young
Afghanistan spin sensation Rashid Khan, the seasoned Ashish Nehra, young Siddharth Kaul and Mohammed Siraj form a potent combination.
The teams (from):
Rising Pune Supergiant: Steve Smith (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ashok Dinda, Mayank Agarwal, Faf du Plessis, Ankit Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Dan Christian, Lockie Ferguson, Imran Tahir, Jaskaran Singh, Usman Khawaja, Saurabh Kumar, Ben Stokes, Washington Sundar, Milind Tandon, Manoj Tiwary, Adam Zampa, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishwar Pandey, Rahul Tripathi and Shardul Thakur.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (C ), Tanmay Agarwal, Ricky Bhui, Bipul Sharma, Ben Cutting, Shikhar Dhawan, Eklavya Dwivedi, Moises Henriques, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Siddharth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ben Laughlin, Abhimanyu Mithun, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammed Siraj, Mustafizur Rahman, Ashish Nehra, Naman Ojha (wk), Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar, Barinder Sran, Pravin Tambe, Kane Williamson and Yuvraj Singh.
(With Inputs from PTI)