The only two overseas skippers face off as Rajasthan Royals take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai. It’s Smith vs Warner, but both teams have had contrasting fortunes in the Dream 11 IPL so far. Rajasthan Royals got off to a winning start, but have lost 4 games in a row; while SRH had a shaky start to the league, but have found winning combinations of late.
The last 4 games have been quite forgetful for Rajasthan Royals. The batting couldn’t get anywhere and the highest score put up by them has been 150-odd. The bowling though has improved quite a bit since the first few matches. Jofra Archer has bowled with a lot of fire, clocking over 150 kph very regularly. The combination in the last game seemed to work very well, as more pace was injected with the addition of Varun Aaron. Kartik Tyagi has looked promising, but is yet to put in a lethal spell. Gopal & Tewatia have succeeded in stifling the opposition batsmen in the middle overs as well.
Sunrisers have an impeccable bowling attack too. Although Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been ruled out of the season, they have a good replacement in Sandeep Sharma. Like the Royals, the SRH middle-order is quite young too. And, the top order dependency is common on both sides.
For the Royals, stopping the likes of Warner and Bairstow will be the key with the ball. With the bat, we will have to be calculative against the likes of Rashid Khan and watch out for the big boundaries too. One bright news for the Royals is the availability of England’s champion all-rounder, Ben Stokes. He is out of quarantine and has attended his first Royals training session. It is to be seen if he slots into the Playing XI straightaway on Sunday.
Dubai International Cricket Stadium
This is the second time Rajasthan Royals play a game in Dubai. Their first loss of the season came at this venue when they had faced KKR. The batting woes have stayed since, and if there has to be a turnaround, it could happen right where it started. If the centre wicket is not used, batsmen can have a go at the shorter boundary, but be tactical about their shots towards the long side. The norm here has been win the toss and bat first, so some luck at the start will be good too.
Jos Buttler vs Sandeep Sharma
With Bhuvi’s absence, Sandeep could take the new ball in the Powerplay. Butler has been quite impressive against the pacer, taking him for 39 runs off 16 balls, at a strike rate of nearly 242. If Jos manages to smash a few early boundaries, he could get into his usual groove soon.
Jofra Archer vs David Warner
The makings of this battle got underway when England and Australia played each other a month or so ago. Archer got Warner’s wicket in the two T20Is they faced each other. Archer also got the better of Warner in the ODIs. The SRH skipper has struggled against the around-the-stumps line by right arm quicks for a couple of years now, and the build-up to this battle could be a prelude to something bigger.
Shreyas Gopal vs Manish Pandey
Two of Karnataka’s smartest cricketers will go head-to-head in Dubai. Gopal has had the better of Pandey twice so far in the IPL. However, Pandey has also struck at over 160 against the leggie. For all you know, there’s a lot of bragging rights to be won between the two of them, and if we can get an early wicket, the two could face each other in the Powerplay as well.
Rajasthan Royals are in a bit of a rut at the moment, and the only way to get out of it is a solid team effort that can lift the entire squad. A win against a formidable side like Sunrisers can do the trick of getting the campaign back onto the winning track. Let’s rise together against all the odds.