Sunrisers have a psychological edge in a must-win match
Despite being ravaged by spot-fixing allegations, Rajasthan Royals has the wherewithal to weather the latest storm to come its way. For starters, the accused trio’s absence may not dent its might much. The threesome hardly figured in recent games in the team’s march to the IPL frontline.
By testing the best, the opening season’s champion has proved it’s no tiger only on home turf, winning a fair measure of away matches, apart from clinching all eight encounters at its citadel, the Sawai Man Singh Stadium. The manner of victory matters more perhaps if one contrasts its progress against that of Sunrisers Hyderabad, the opposition it’s up against on Friday.
If the game’s shortest version is about mental strength, the Jaipur-based squad has shown a lot more resilience, the middle-order stepping up to stem the rot, should the top rung fail to fire. With the chips drastically down, even at the half-way mark, the batting has clawed its way back into contention and often walked away with the contest.
In comparison, the host’s batting has buckled time and again, instead riding piggy-back on the prowess of its bowling attack. Formidable as its firepower can be, much of the good work done by its bowlers is hardly helped by butter-fingered fielding, even with skiers sometimes being spilt.
The 77-run thrashing by Chennai Super Kings tarnished the home side’s flawless track record here and the defeat by Mumbai Indians should rankle even more. The Hyderabad side nonetheless does possess the abilities to raise the bar, now that the league is into its home stretch.
To shake off the stigma it is currently stuck with, could add resolve to Royals’ cause, however unenviable the task might be. For the Sunrisers, the will to win must translate into action if they are to make the most of two games in hand to join the elite.
Stepping out of the shadow cast by recent happenings should be pretty tough for the visitors. The Hyderabad side has no such psychological baggage to bother about and to that extent enjoys an edge it would do well to enforce.