Friday’s match in the Indian Premier League features the competition’s two newest sides. Hosts, Sunrisers Hyderabad have risen from the ashes of the defunct Deccan Chargers and this will be their first IPL game, whilst Pune Warriors will be entering their third season having finished rock bottom in their second.
Sunrisers have retained twenty of the Deccan players on their roster, but will miss star opening batsman Shikar Dhawan, who needs at least two more weeks to recover from the hand injury which he suffered on Test duty with India last month. That will put an additional burden upon skipper Kumar Sangakkara in a side not overly burdened with batsmen, which has to be a worry given his poor IPL in 2012. Look out, though, for South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, a new addition to the side this year and very highly rated in his home country. Back him at 9/2 with Coral to be their top scorer in this game. With the ball, the attack is pretty much Dale Steyn plus AN Other and being the best bowler in the world probably isn’t going to help much in that situation.
Pune were somewhat weakened as a batting force when Australian captain Michael Clarke, who was also supposed to be their captain, was forced out of the tournament with a back injury. That was bad news for a side weak on batting anyway. Angelo Mathews will step in as skipper, although perversely they will miss his bowling as injuries have whittled down his ability to bowl regularly. Watch out, though, for the return of Yuvraj Singh. His return from a rare chest cancer has been the talk of Indian cricket for months and he is good value to be the top Pune batsman at 10/1 with Bet36
Whilst this is a contest between two sides who are likely to struggle this season, that makes selecting a winner for our sports picks all the harder. On balance, Sunrisers Hyderabad look the slightly stronger side and in their IPL debut and playing at home it would be folly to go against them, even at a best price of 39/29 betting odds with Pinnacle.