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SRH look to seal playoff berth; GT aim to end campaign on a high

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Hyderabad, May 15: Masters of their own fate right now despite being erratic, Sunrisers Hyderabad will hope their destructive batting line-up delivers when they take on Gujarat Titans in pursuit of a playoffs berth in the Indian Premier League here on Thursday.
Another win will be enough for Sunrisers to seal a playoff berth as they need only one point to ensure qualification.
But the Pat Cummins-led side will also want to challenge for the top two spots, which is a possibility considering they have one more game after this match and a healthy net run rate of +0.406.
SRH have 14 points from 12 matches and can reach a maximum of 18 points, which may be enough to ensure a top-two finish if other results go their way.
Not only are the Sunrisers players well-rested ahead of the clash against GT as they got a week off, their morale will also be sky high after notching yet another record-breaking win against Lucknow Super Giants on May 8.
If the bowlers did a commendable job to restrict LSG to a blow-par score, the opening duo of Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma made a mockery of the hosts by chasing down 166 in just 9.4 overs to notch a 10-wicket win at home.
SRH have made a habit of securing unbelievable victories throughout the season but they have also suffered sizeable defeats, including against GT (by 7 wickets) earlier in the competition.
The boom or bust approach by the batters has either done exceedingly well or has simply let the side down, including three times in the last five games, where SRH lost to RCB (by 35 runs), CSK (by 78 runs) and MI (by 7 wickets).
The 2016 champions would hope Head and Sharma deliver as SRH are heavily dependent on the explosive starts provided by the duo.
They will also want to do a better job at re-building their innings, especially while chasing. The likes of Nitish Reddy, Heinrich Klassen and Abdul Samad need to manage that better.
On the other hand, the Titans, who have only five wins from 13 games and are on 11 points, are out of the reckoning and will look to end their forgettable campaign on a high.
With former skipper Hardik Pandya moving to Mumbai Indians this season, GT struggled to find a replacement for the all-rounder who was key to their title-winning run in 2022 and runners-up finish last year.
The absence of pacer Mohammed Shami, who was ruled out of the tournament due to injury, has also hurt them.
GT’s bowling hasn’t been as effective this season, with inconsistent pacers and leaky spinners.Their last match against Kolkata Knight Riders was a washout but the bowlers showed promise by taking three wickets in the first three overs against CSK.
Mohit Sharma’s variations and knuckle balls were particularly effective, and Rashid Khan’s clever bowling was noticeable. They’ll hope for an encore.In the batting department, much will depend on skipper Shubman Gill and B Sai Sudharsan, who revelled in the role of an opener.
Match starts at 7.30 PM. (PTI)

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