Both Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad didn’t get off to the start they would have liked to, in the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL). While the Royals lost to Kings XI Punjab, SRH couldn’t defend their total against a rampaging Kolkata Knight Riders. Having said that, the two teams had a lot of positives to draw from their opening games. This is our first away game of this season, and Sunrisers’ first home game. The conditions in Hyderabad aren’t the easiest to bat on usually, but the bowlers relish having a go on the surfaces here.

Powerplay of Numbers
We have played 9 games against Sunrisers Hyderabad since their entry into the IPL, back in 2013. SRH have a slight upper-hand over Rajasthan Royals, having won 5 of the 9 games. We are yet to win a game at their home-ground, Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, where we have played two IPL matches previously. We will be looking to open our account at this venue on Friday.

Usually, most grounds in India have short-ish boundaries. However, this one in Hyderabad, is one of the biggest. One of the ends has straight boundaries measuring up to 85 metres, while the other end has shorter ones, measuring up to 70. Batsmen will have to pick their zones tactically when they go for big hits at this venue. Being a relatively bigger ground, the average first innings total is 158 (since 2017), and shrunk further in 2018 to 152. Watch out for a lot of variations from the pacers if we receive a tacky pitch. Jaydev Unadkat has a hat-trick to his name at this venue against SRH, and he will look to put in a good spell by taking inspiration from that performance. On the other hand, spinners can come into their own, as they will enjoy the grip on offer from the surface.

Dynamic Duels:
Last season’s runner-up, Sunrisers Hyderabad boast of some skilful bowlers in their squad. On the other hand, our top order has some of the best names from different countries. Some mouth-watering contests could be on display to get the Friday night celebrations going.

Jos Buttler vs Sandeep Sharma
Buttler is in rampaging form. He could face Sandeep Sharma who wouldn’t want to be reminded of his record against Jos the Boss. Striking at a whopping 243.8, Buttler has hammered Sandeep Sharma for 39 runs off 16 balls, without losing his wicket to him. Sandeep Sharma took a beating in SRH’s opening game as well, and will be looking to make a mark too.

Sanju Samson vs Siddharth Kaul
Samson showed glimpses of brilliance in our opening game. When on song, he is an absolute sight to watch. Siddharth Kaul has built a reputation of dishing out several variations., and was key to SRH’s success last season. However, Sanju has managed to keep Kaul at bay with some clean hitting in the past. The Kerala batsman has taken Kashmir’s Kaul for 39 runs off 23 balls, with a towering strike rate of 170. Moreover, on our last visit to Hyderabad, Sanju top-scored with 49. We are expecting him to complete his unfinished business by going past 50 this time around.

Dhawal Kulkarni vs David Warner
DK gave us the perfect start with the ball in our season opener when he dismissed the destructive KL Rahul in the first over. Numbers suggest that David Warner, who hit a sublime 85 on Sunday, hasn’t been able to get the better of DK in the past. The two have had enough face-time on the field in the IPL. Warner has only managed 44 runs off 52 balls from Dhawal, a very uncharacteristic record for the Aussie. We are hoping DK does the trick again and gets Warner for the third time in his career, early on, mind you.
Teams usually find it hard to win against Sunrisers Hyderabad at their home-ground. However, we will be going all guns blazing against SRH to claim our first victory of the season. We want to give our fans a Royal Friday evening! Halla Bol!

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