It’s the business end of the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL). There aren’t many matches left for all the eight teams, and victories become all the more important for most of them. Rajasthan Royals moved back to seventh spot after their victory over Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens. They are back home, and are preparing to host Sunrisers Hyderabad. The game against KKR was a confidence booster for Rajasthan Royals and a great example of complete team performance. When we were under pressure, chasing a competitive target, Riyan Parag came to the rescue and Jofra finished it off in style. Varun Aaron and Oshane Thomas made excellent use of their opportunities and delivered with impressive bowling in the initial overs. Archer and Stokes have left for England duty and their spots will have to be filled too. With three games to play, we would be eyeing victories with high margins to rise in the points table. However, before that, our primary aim will be to play quality cricket that we have demonstrated in the past few matches. Powerplay of Numbers: Our last meeting against Sunrisers Hyderabad had some good and forgetful memories. Sanju Samson scored a picturesque hundred in Hyderabad, but David Warner led the way in the chase for SRH, as they crossed the line right at the end. It has been a while since we have beaten Sunrisers. Our last victory against them came in 2015. The two teams have faced each other just the twice at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, and have won one game each. This year at the SMS, we have seen slow, sticky and good surfaces to bat on. Spinners have enjoyed bowling during most of the games, barring the last one where dew made it a tough task for most bowlers to send the ball down into the right areas. Don’t be surprised if the side winning the toss elects to bowl. Dynamic Duels Sanju Samson vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar Remember that over in which Sanju Samson punished Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 24 runs. The over included 1 six and 4 fours. None of the shots were mishits or heaves; they were pure cricket strokes out of the textbook. Samson hasn’t scored a 50+ score since that knock, and will be raring to get one more under his belt soon. Kumar on the other hand, will come up with some ideas against Sanju. The battle, this time around, will begin during the Powerplay with Samson opening the innings for the Royals. Jaydev Unadkat vs David Warner It was David Warner who took the game away from us when the Sunrisers chased down 199. Back then, Unadkat wasn’t brought in to bowl during the Powerplay. With Archer gone, Unadkat could get a chance at Warner in the first six. The Aussie strikes at 67, and has been dismissed once by JD. Steve Smith vs Sandeep Sharma Steve Smith had an off day in Kolkata, but scored two consecutive fifties before that. Safe to say, that our skipper is in some good form. He will face Sandeep Sharma, who he has taken for 25 runs off 18 balls. Moreover, Smith hasn’t lost his wicket to Sharma either. Watch out for those canny cuts and flicks off Steve’s bat during this battle. Ben Stokes and Archer have left the Royals as they shift their focus to national duty, but we have a pretty good variety of options available to replace them and perform for us in these crucial upcoming games. The Sunrisers are currently placed 4th on the points table and beating them could create a major shake-up in the table. All Rajasthan Royals have their focus on at the moment is a victory. Halla Bol!
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