Finalists from last season, the Royals will be keen to start their IPL 2023 title charge with a bang when they face Sunrisers Hyderabad in their season opener.
“Come next season, all of us will have to come back differently.” These words by our head coach Kumar Sangakkara following the last year's final will ring loud in the Royals’ heads when we begin our Indian Premier League 2023 season against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Sunday (April 2).
Losing a final is never easy and the team felt the pain last year, having fallen one step short. But like any champion side, the Royals are eager to go that extra mile this season. And preparations began in December when the team’s think tank got down to business at the IPL mini-auction in Kochi.
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With some quality overseas acquisitions in Jason Holder, Adam Zampa, Joe Root and Donovan Ferreira and top domestic talents like KM Asif, Abdul Bazith, Akash Vashisht, Kunal Singh Rathore and Murugan Ashwin joining the ranks, Rajasthan Royals are poised to stake a claim for the IPL title this season.
IPL 2023: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals - April 2, 2023
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
3:30 PM IST
Although the wicket at SRH’s home ground usually tends to be flat, they have aided slower bowlers as the matches have progressed. But a closer look at the numbers over the past 10 matches suggests that quality pace bowling has been effective as well with the quicks accounting for 67 wickets at an economy of 8.65.
From ✈️T2 in Jaipur to ⏳T -2 in Hyderabad! 💗 pic.twitter.com/XrhVp4aC6F— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) March 31, 2023
Our run at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium might not be inspiring with the Royals losing out on all three occasions so far, but captain Saju Samson and his boys will be keen to shift the trend on Sunday.
Key battles to watch out for
Jos Buttler vs SRH bowlers
He fired on all cylinders last season and left everybody in awe of his batting prowess. Jos Buttler will hope for a similar performance in IPL 2023 and if things go as per plan, the show will begin in Hyderabad in what will be our 200th match in all competitions.
The Royals will bank on the Englishman’s destructive batting in the Powerplay, a phase in which he accumulated 374 runs in 17 innings last season – the most by a batter in the league. Jos, the Orange Cap winner in IPL 2022, was lethal in the death overs as well with the second-best strike rate in the league among batters who faced a minimum of 50 balls.
With the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson, among others, accompanying Jos in the Rajasthan Royals’ explosive batting line-up, the duel against SRH’s bowling battery, which features Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan and Umran Malik, promises to be an enticing one.
In the Spotlight
He could be a handful with his banter game outside pitch, but with the ball in his hand, Yuzvendra Chahal has always been a dangerous proposition for opposition batters. Yuzi’s tally of 27 wickets last season not only took us to the final but also helped him claim the Purple Cap.
So… time for 𝘍𝘦𝘳𝘳𝘢𝘳𝘪 𝘬𝘪 𝘚𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘪 to HYD? 😂✈️ pic.twitter.com/iJ6UDT52uU— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) March 31, 2023
But what stood out about Chahal is his ability to control the tempo of the game in the middle overs. With the experienced R Ashwin in the squad to complement Yuzi, the Royals’ spin duo will eye another top show this season. Moreover, with the Impact Player rule kicking in this season, the team management will look to exploit the option well depending on the match situation.
- This will be Rajasthan Royals’ 200th match in all T20 competitions
- Yashasvi Jaiswal needs 47 more runs to reach 1000 runs in T20s
- Yuzvendra Chahal needs 1 wicket to complete 300 wickets in T20s. He will be the first Indian to reach the milestone in the format
- Murugan Ashwin needs six more wickets to complete 100 T20 wickets
- Jason Holder needs another wicket to reach 200 T20 wickets