It was 22nd April that Rajasthan Royals last played a game in this season of the Indian Premier League. They are now back after a 7-day break, to play the first game of our Super Sunday IPL double header, against an in-form Sunrisers Hyderabad who seem to be burdened with matches.
After a good start of three wins, SRH slumped and had 2 losses but they have come back brilliantly with 2 more wins, and they showed twice how good they can be in defending low totals. No other team in IPL 2018 will be able to achieve what Sunrisers have done in their last couple of games – defend 118 and then 132.
There were a couple of changes that Rajasthan made before they went on this mini vacation. They won that game against Mumbai. They shifted Rahul Tripathi to the top of the order, dropped D’Arcy Short and picked Jofra Archer. Finally, the RR selectors heard us at Read Scoops and the introduction of Jofra Archer was successful immediately, picking up 3 wickets for 22 runs and getting the Man of the Match award on his IPL debut.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have been brilliant with the ball, having defended scores of 118 and 132 in their last two games. However, what does that speak about their batting? The team is over-reliant on Dhawan and Williamson, and when both fail, the batting has been failing. I’ve been on about bringing in Alex Hales in place of Nabi to balance the side slightly, but Tom Moody believes this is the right team.
I still believe bringing in Hales will reduce the burden on the top two. Bhuvneshwar Kumar may well be back in this game but with Sandeep Sharma doing well in his couple of chances, Basil Thampi may have to make way for Bhuvi. 1st innings scores of 153, 160 and 167 have been scored on this pitch so far and if SRH bat first and get past the 150-mark, expect them to win again.
On the other hand, Rajasthan batting first would feel safe if they get past the 160-170 mark but we know that scores in excess of 200 have also been chased in IPL 2018 so far. I’m expecting a well-fought match and Rajasthan Royals to win, as they are rested and seem to have a better balanced side.
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