With four wins in their last four games, the Sunrisers Hyderabad have become the second most dominant team in this IPL after the Mumbai Indians, who were the first to not only reach the playoffs, but also the final.

David Warner’s team now has to overcome one more hurdle, against the Delhi Capitals on Sunday in Qualifier 2, to reach their second final since 2016, which was when they won the title. The Capitals are the only team that never made it to the final. Last year, Shreyas Iyer’s team lost to the Chennai Super Kings at the same stage, Qualifier 2, to crash.

What will be the changes, in the team selections, in the strategies, of the two sides in this decisive clash?

The ideal XI of the Capitals – Plan A

Put Prithvi Shaw out of shape, open with Marcus Stoinis. Leave Daniel Sams, increase the volume of the middle order with Shimron Hetmyer. The opening with Stoinis and Shikhar Dhawan could allow the capitals to start fast, something they have lacked after the first half of the league phase.

Stoinis was the Capitals’ best hitter in their humiliating loss to the Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1. He’s a proven opening option in T20 cricket, having done it successfully in the Big Bash League since 2018, where he has scored ten midfields. centuries and a century with an average of 52 and a strike rate of 133.

By accommodating Hetmyer, ideally at No. 4 or No. 5, the Capitals can give Rishabh Pant a bit of freedom, asking him to play. its game and play the role of finisher. Plus, it brings back Harshal Patel for Shaw, who may be a handful if the Abu Dhabi field continues to play slow and low like in the Eliminator.

The ideal XI of the Capitals – Plan B

Open with Stoinis, replace Shaw with Harshal Patel, led by Sandeep Lamichhane his first match of the competition as a replacement for Sams. It may be a left field as the suggestions say, but it may not be, if you consider that Yuzvendra Chahal and Adam Zampa were the best pitchers, along with Rashid Khan, in the Eliminator between Sunrisers and Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday night. on a slow pitch in Abu Dhabi.

The Capitals have sorely missed Amit Mishra, who was forced to return home after breaking his finger in the first half of the tournament. While R Ashwin will remain the key player, Lamichhane can operate in the middle of the overs alongside Patel, allowing the fast bowling pair of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada to shoot enough overs on death. It will be a brave decision, but the Capitals have to think outside the box.

Don’t let Rashid Khan calm down

Capitals hitters are quiet when Khan is in front of them, like a group of students when the principal walks into class. In five games at IPL 2019 and 2020, the Capitals have scored just 76 runs of 120 deliveries against them. In this period, Khan has taken ten wickets at an economy rate of 3.8. Six of those lands arrived this year, three at a time, including 3-for-7, one of the best spells of the tournament so far.

Khan will shoot in the middle, so it will be the responsibility of Dhawan, Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane, most likely, to find ways to attack him. It’s one of the toughest one-on-one battles in T20 cricket, but it might not hurt the Capitals to do a little prank against Khan.

Stir it up for David Warner

In case Wriddhiman Saha doesn’t play, again, Warner will take the lead by making the bold opening statement on the power play, as the Sunrisers have done in their four straight wins in the past two weeks.

Warner will want to attack Rabada and Ashwin in the first six overs. Now, Rabada has knocked out Warner twice in the IPL, but has conceded 57 runs of 34 deliveries in the process. Ashwin knocked out Warner three times in the IPL, giving away 92 runs from 82 deliveries. Both will aim to smash Warner in any room and take him out.

That said, if the surface remains slow, then Sunrisers batsmen will play percentage cricket, so it will be a more even competition.

Capitals starters must stay the course

Dhawan and Shaw were among the best starting pairs at the start of the tournament, scoring 226 runs, including three partnerships out of 50, in the first five matches. Shaw has fallen miserably after that, while in the Capitals’ last five games, Dhawan has scored three ducks. In those, the capitals have lost at least one wicket before reaching double digits. Since October 20, which is when their slide began, the Capitals have lost eight wickets in the first two overs of a match, the poorest of all teams.

Make Axar Patel attack Manish Pandey

Pandey has shown a lot of positive intention at key moments for the Sunrisers in this IPL. Fortunately, in Patel, the Capitals have the right bowler to challenge Pandey. In the 61 deliveries he faced from Patel in T20 over the years, Pandey has been conservative, picking just 38 runs with a strike rate of 64, while losing his wicket twice.

Going back to the beginning, what about the launch?

Are you still chasing? It is a more important question for capitals. In both league stage games, which the Sunrisers won, Iyer had chosen to chase and that backfired both times. Warner has won three pitches in a row now and chose to play first. It’s not just about following the trend at the venue, which leans in favor of hitting second, but the Sunrisers have been the top bowling unit in their last six games, since Oct. 20. Warner would want to chase again if he pays the coin. right on Sunday, considering a low-confidence opposition and their strong bowling drive.