The last two teams to start their campaigns are up against each other for the fourth T20 of the IPL. Rajasthan Royals will take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the latter’s home ground. Both teams have been hit hard by the ball-tampering controversy that hit Australian cricket, losing their respective captains.
Rajasthan have packed their batting with big names at the expense of their bowling. The Sunrisers have a much better balance to their squad. The Royals have always relied on the talent of their youngsters to win them matches, making them the X-factor team of every IPL. Can they uphold their reputation, or will SRH start their season with a win?
Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Rahul Tripathi, D'Arcy Short, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Zahir Khan, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Heinrich Klaasen.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shakib Al Hasan, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Rashid Khan, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan, Mohammad Nabi, Basil Thampi, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Sachin Baby, Chris Jordan, Billy Stanlake, Tanmay Agarwal, Shreevats Goswami, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Alex Hales.
Where the teams stand
Rajasthan have a power-packed batting line up through and through. Rahane and Tripathi will undoubtedly open, with Samson, Stokes, Archer, maybe Gowtham, and Klaasen. Tripathi and Samson have been very successful for the blue outfit. Stokes was Most Valuable Player of the Series last year and is arguably the best all-rounder in the world. Archer, Gowtham, and Klaasen are all big-hitters capable of accelerating the scoring rate. Archer and Gowtham are all-rounders who can also bowl as well, giving Rahane tons of variety with his attack.
The Royals are a little short on their bowling. They have roped in Jaydev Unadkat for a whopping 11.5 crore, but one wonders what it would take to justify that price tag. He was ordinary against South Africa, but has a decent average of 23 in the IPL. Dhawal Kulkarni, Stokes, Ben Laughlin are also part of the attack. Ankit Sharma will probably be the lone spinner. Laughlin is 35 now, and his ability to contribute to the team is somewhat in doubt. Dhawal Kulkarni and Sharma are far from big names. Stokes and Unadkat will have to be the ones to get their team the breakthroughs.
The Sunrisers have a power-packed batting lineup from top to bottom. They have Alex Hales, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Shakib, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, and Saha. All of these players are top-notch batsmen, and they can decimate any bowling attack in the world. Against the Royals, at home, these boys will be itching to get out of there for a swing. In Williamson, SRH have a great captain. He has a good balance of pinch-hitters and anchors, forming one of the best batting lineups in the tournament.
The home team have a great bowling attack as well. Bhuvneshwar Kumar leads the charge. Siddarth Kaul was a regular feature of the team last year, averaging a wicket per match. Williamson must also play Billy Stanlake, a player to watch out for this tournament. The Aussie was great in the recent triangular series against England and New Zealand; if he can continue his form, he will be deadly alongside Kumar. Sandeep Sharma is another successful bowler who has been great for Punjab over the years. Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan can both bowl spin, the former obviously more adept at it than the former. It is hard to see this team losing, with it’s balance and quality in both departments.
SRH win. They have a better bowling attack, and a better batting lineup than the Royals.
Who will win this epic IPL 2018 clash, Sunrisers Hyderabad or Rajasthan Royals? Let us know in the comments and poll below.