IPL 2021 DC vs SRH: Game Plan – Attack Shaw with the new ball and bat Samad up the order


DC vs SRH – The 33rd match of the IPL 2021 tournament will witness Delhi Capitals taking on Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai. Here, we take a look at some of the key game plans that could help both teams establish an edge over each other.

Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad have had contrasting fortunes in the Indian leg of IPL 2021. Under the new captain Rishabh Pant, DC have won 6 of their 8 games so far and are placed at the second spot in the points table while SRH are languishing at the bottom with just a solitary win.

DC vs SRH – Remove the openers early

Prithvi Shaw had a horrid season in IPL 2020 is an understatement. He was beaten on both edges of the bat, troubled by the short balls, was never allowed to cross the Powerplay on most occasions and was finally dropped. The poor form continued in the tour of Australia and come 2021 he was dropped from the national side too.

Shaw went back to the drawing board and worked on his technique and he set the stages on fire in IPL 2021 scoring 308 runs from 8 games at a strike rate of 166.48. Dhawan and Shaw form a formidable combo at the top of the order for DC scoring heavily in the Powerplay allowing their explosive middle-order of Pant, Hetmyer and Stoinis to bat freely. If SRH needs to restrict the DC batting unit, they have to remove DC’s openers cheaply especially Shaw who has been at his destructive best recently.

The technical changes Shaw made in 2021 put him in a better position at the point of ball release. During the 2018 to 2020 IPL seasons, Shaw tended to stay beside the line of the ball to create some room to free his arms. But he rightfully struggled when the ball came between the fourth stump to middle stump region cramping him for room.

He averaged just 11.75 and struck at 116 when the ball was in that region between 2018 to 2020 IPL. In 2021, Shaw set up his stance around middle and middle & off guard which provided him access to both sides of the wicket. In IPL 2021, he was never dismissed against the balls bowled in that region and struck at a rate of 148.

So how can SRH restrict him? While Shaw has tightened his game, the surfaces in UAE does provide some assistance for the pacers early on which was also the case in the recently concluded game between MI and CSK. So the SRH pacers, especially Bhuvneshwar and Sandeep (both can move the ball both ways), should look to maximise whatever assistance they get early on to dismiss Shaw. While the short balls still work against Shaw, SRH doesn’t possess a 140kmph+ fast bowler in their ranks to take advantage of it. Their best bet is to look to dismiss Shaw off the new ball or hope he makes a mistake against Rashid Khan, who he seems to play pretty well.

DC vs SRH – The middle order issue

SRH’s auction performances in the last couple of auctions have been nothing but disappointing. They have been found lacking an out and out fast bowler and a solid lower middle-order batter for a long time now but they’ve failed to address this issue in the auctions. While they’ve signed Rutherford who performed well in the recently concluded CPL as a replacement player it remains to be seen whether he would get an opportunity considering the team combinations.

SRH made a big brain move in their last game by benching Warner and made Williamson the captain of the side to accommodate an overseas all-rounder to balance the side. With Bairstow out of the remainder of the IPL, Warner is likely to return back to the top. There were talks of Jadhav taking on the wicket-keeping duties but going by the practice sessions Saha is more likely to don the gloves. This opens up another issue for SRH in the form of Manish Pandey.

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In the first leg of IPL 2021, Pandey played some match-losing innings mainly due to his intent and his ineffectiveness to accelerate outside the Powerplay. While he scored a 20 ball 31 in their last game opening the batting, he’ll most likely drop down to No.3 position to accommodate Saha, the wicket-keeper at the top. While it isn’t ideal, SRH doesn’t have many options.

With Williamson slotting at No.4, their middle-order will consist of Williamson, one out of Shankar or Jadhav and Samad which doesn’t offer much promise. The best thing SRH could do is to make Samad bat up the order rather than his usual No.7 position.

Samad is a powerful young batter who has shown great promise in the little opportunities he has got so far. He possesses the rare skill of taking on the high-end pacers but SRH have often been found guilty of batting him so low and his late entry points don’t allow him to make a huge impact with the bat. With the shallow middle-order of SRH, Samad should ideally slot behind Williamson and his role will be crucial in the death-overs considering DC have the likes of Avesh, Rabada and Nortje in their line-up.

Coming to the bowling, Nabi should fill the overseas all-rounder slot considering the left-hand batter dominance in the DC lineup. With Natarajan returning from injury, he along with Bhuvneshwar and Sandeep will complete the pace department and Rashid Khan will carry on his duties as usual.

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