Thanks to Afghanisthan spinner Rashid Khan's cameo of a 10-ball 34 runs against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday, Sunrisers Hyderabad managed to cruise to the IPL 2018 Final with a win by 14 runs after 40 overs of play in the second Qualifier. Had it not been for Rashid's blistering knock, Sunrisers' chances of advancing to the Final would have gotten dimmer.
Arguably the most valuable spinner in the Indian Premier League currently, Rashid's latest batting performance has certainly raised the bar for tail-enders. On the back of stunning bowling figures of 3/19 in his quota of four overs on Friday, the Sunrisers would hope for a repeat of the Afghan's match winning performance with the ball and also with the bat, if need be, considering the Kane Williamson-led team's vulnerability in the middle order.
"He is a good cricketer and in Big Bash and other overseas tournaments, he has batted well, hit fours and sixes. He has the ability to bat and that is why he bats at number 8. Against Chennai Super Kings also he hit a couple of sixes. So we don't doubt his ability and were not surprised," Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman Yusuf Pathan said following their victory against KKR.
If West Indies all rounder Carlos Brathwaite goes berserk at CSK bowlers like he did in Qualifier 1, there is no reason to doubt the Sunrisers batting strength. However, the inclusion of Deepak Hooda at the cost of experienced batsman Manish Pandey, who is the first ever Indian batsman to score a hundred in the history of the league, in the Sunrisers line-up might make or break their cause. Although the splendid form of opener Shikhar Dhawan is a boost to the side, captain Williamson's comeback to scoring ways will brighten up SRH's chances to lift their second IPL Trophy.