Hyderabad: The latest arrival in the Indian Premier League family will make its debut in the sixth edition of the cash-rich league on Thursday, when Sunrisers Hyderabad make their maiden foray in the IPL arena against Pune Warriors India.
The now-defunct Deccan Chargers were re-christened Sunrisers Hyderabad after the Sun Group inherited the 2009 champion team, throwing a rope to most of its players who will be led by Sri Lankan stalwart Kumar Sangakkara against a team captained by his fellow countryman Angelo Mathews.
The third match of IPL 6 will throw up a lot of performances that should whet the appetite. Topping that list will be Pune's Jammu & Kashmir recruit Parvez Rasool, who will want to prove the hype around his all-round skills which excelled in the Ranji Trophy and against the visiting Australians before the Sahara Group offered him with an IPL contract. Same will be expected of Bhuvneshwar Kumar after he swung out the Australians, and of course, Yuvraj Singh who will try to use this IPL season to work his way back into the Indian team.
The Hyderabad franchise, under its new avatar, will look up to skipper Kumar Sangakkara for an inspirational IPL debut at home.
Eyeballs will also be glued to the likes of Hanuma Vihari - a part of India's Under-19 World Cup win last year. Leading the international flag will be Dale Steyn, the No. 1 Test bowler and one who can run through any line-up in the world.
Talking about team make-ups, Hyderabad will be without the Mohali Test hero Shikhar Dhawan, who is out for a few matches due to the hand injury he suffered on his otherwise dream Test debut. Also unavailable will be South African allrounder JP Duminy, who too is nursing an injury. The depleted Hyderabad batting will, thus, be led by Sangakkara and Australian Twenty20 specialist Cameron White along with wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, who in all likelihood will open the batting. Ravi Teja is also expected to get a go, alongside Vihari, who could make his IPL debut.
Steyn will be supported by Ishant Sharma as far as Hyderabad's new-ball duties go. Backing them up will be Sri Lankan allrounder Thisara Perera, who, though, is in straight competition with West Indies' skipper and allrounder Darren Sammy for a place in the XI. Experienced legspinner Amit Mishra will spearhead their spin attack, with White and Vihari offering useful part-time spin options.
Pune, on the other hand, suffered a setback a few days ago when Michael Clarke was ruled out for the entire season due to a recurring back injury. Mathews was then asked to lead the team, hoping he will be able to lead by example in the dual role of a captain cum allrounder.
The return of Yuvraj and the presence of Australia's Mitchell Marsh has bolstered Pune. Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey are likely to open the innings for the team coached by South African great Allan Donald. The star allrounder of India's domestic circuit, Abhishek Nayar, is expected to be part of the XI that will be packed with allrounders, most likely including debutant Rasool.
The bowling department will be led by talented and in-form Kumar, with Ashok Dinda expected to share the new ball with him. Australia's batting allrounder Steve Smith and Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis are expected to be the remaining two foreigners in the Pune line-up.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Kumar Sangakkara (capt/wk), 2 Parthiv Patel, 3 Cameron White, 4 Akshat Reddy, 5 Ravi Teja, 6 Hanuma Vihari, 7 Thisara Perera/Darren Sammy, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Sudeep Tyagi, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Ishant Sharma
Pune Warriors India: 1 Manish Pandey, 2 Robin Uthappa (wk), 3 Yuvraj Singh, 4 Mitchell Marsh, 5 Abhishek Nayar, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt), 7 Steve Smith, 8 Parvez Rasool, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Ashok Dinda