There are only fond memories for Rajasthan Royals from the last time they played Sunrisers Hyderabad. The bowlers and our lower middle-order put up a tremendous performance to take us out of the losing rut we had found ourselves in, early in the season. The situation isn’t an easy one this time either. A loss could topple our chances of making it to the Playoffs without depending on net run rate.
Like the Royals, the Sunrisers themselves are not in a comfortable position in the points table. They have had inconsistent performances all through the tournament and will come hard at us with all their might. David Warner has led the team well in the past and they have enjoyed a lot of success under his captaincy too. A concern for them could by Williamson’s injury.
The Royals managed to keep the top-heavy SRH batting order quiet during our last encounter in Dubai. Jofra’s pace was too hot to handle & the spinners had a firm grip on proceedings. The Royals’ bowling has only got stronger since then, with Tyagi & Gopal finding themselves among the wickets. The former has been a revelation in the death overs, bowling pin-point yorkers to perfection. Gopal, along with Tewatia haven’t been easy to get away in the middle overs. In the last game against CSK, the Rajasthan Royals bowlers managed to collect 51 dot balls.
It’s the batting for both teams that has let them down in the recent past. The Royals seem to have plugged some of the issues by strengthening the middle order, by pushing Buttler & Smith down to give some spine to the line-up. The best thing that could happen for the Royals is for Stokes to firee at the top with a quick 40 or even a 50+ score. The same applies for the Sunrisers, with Warner & Bairstow at the top and Pandey to follow. However, if the Royals can break through the fortress at the top, they run into the less experienced SRH middle-order.
Dubai International Stadium
It was at Dubai that Tewatia & Parag stole the show from SRH during the last encounter. Even Rashid Khan wasn’t spared on a grippy surface. The pitch should play slow and the batsmanship will be put to the test, as both teams have some handy bowlers. A 160+ total should be a good one to defend here, but wickets in hand in the Powerplay & the death could hold the key.
Shreyas Gopal vs David Warner
Gopal has the uncanny knack of dismissing top-order batsmen. He has got the likes of Kohli, Finch, Rohit Sharma in the past, but Warner is one name he’d like to get an upper hand over. The SRH captain hasn’t been his usual destructive self this season, despite scoring a few fifties. He has looked to start with caution and build his innings, something he did against RR last time around. Can a Shreyas googly lead to Warner’s downfall?
Jofra Archer vs Jonny Bairstow
No English batsman has got the better of Archer so far in this IPL season. Bairstow was at the receiving end of some chin music when they met earlier. Jofra may not have got Bairstow’s wicket, but he certainly stamped his authority by not letting Bairstow score quickly. If Jofra does the same, expect him to dismiss Bairstow this time or create opportunities for bowlers at the other end instead.
Rahul Tewatia vs Rashid Khan
Rahul Tewatia will be well rested, after he didn’t have to come out to bat against CSK in the Royals’ last game. He smashed the mickey out of Rashid’s googlies and quick leg-spin, smashing three consecutive boundaries in a tight chase. What Tewatia showed us an immense confidence to take on the best in the business. Khan will surely have that onslaught on his mind if these two face each other.
A win will take the Royals to double digits in the points table. With KXIP hitting some form and finding a late surge, it becomes vital for us to keep winning and not stay far behind in the race. Our net run rate got a minor boost as we beat CSK with 15 balls to spare. While 2 points will be the primary objective, it will help to win by a decent margin. Ben Stokes & Sanju Samson are due some runs, and champion batsmen like these two can only be kept quiet for a while. Expect another hard-fought contest between the two sides.