Cricket

IPL 2019: English exodus in focus as Royals meet Sunrisers

Rajasthan Royals players are seen during a practice session in Jaipur.

Rajasthan Royals players are seen during a practice session in Jaipur.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Things will get tougher for both teams after the departure of Australians — Warner and Royals skipper Steve Smith — next week.

On Thursday night at the Eden Gardens, Varun Aaron was the star with the ball and Riyan Parag with the bat. Neither was in the scheme of things for Rajasthan Royals in the early stage of Vivo IPL-12.

Their match-winning performances — the two have so far played just six matches between them — could not have come at a better time for Steve Smith’s men, who have to rebuild the side following Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes’ return to England.

Royals take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Saturday.

Two points difference

Only two points separate the two teams. A win could brighten the outside chances of a place in the PlayOffs for the home side, which is second from the bottom. 

For that, Royals need to find a way to overcome the absence of Archer, one of the key men in their campaign. 

He spearheaded the bowling with aplomb and is more than a handy bat down the order, as he showed against Kolkata Knight Riders the other night.

The pace of Aaron and Oshane Thomas could make up for Archer’s absence to a certain extent. 

Crucial role

The leg-spin of Shreyas Gopal could play a crucial role yet again.

The batsmen have responded rather well to the early departure of the explosive opener Jos Buttler. 

Ajinkya Rahane, Smith, Sanju Samson and Parag have all found their touch.

It would be interesting to see how Sunrisers cope with the splitting up of one of the best opening partnerships in T20 cricket. 

David Warner and Jonny Bairstow have added 791 from 10 innings and had three successive century stands.

Bairstow’s replacement?

SRH has to find a replacement for Bairstow, who has gone back to England, at the top of the order and someone to keep wickets as well.

The visitors will no doubt be looking up to Warner for the runs. The dynamic Aussie holds the orange cap with 574 runs (average 71.75, strike rate 146.05). Manish Pandey, too, has finally regained his form.

As for bowling, SRH has one of the better attacks in the competition featuring the likes of Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed and Sandeep Sharma. 

It is likely to be an intriguing contest.

Squads:

Rajasthan Royals: Steve Smith (captain), Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Oshane Thomas, Liam Livingstone, Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Shubham Ranjane, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Aaron, Shashank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul Tripathi

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (captain), Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, T Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Shreevats Goswami, Khaleel Ahmed, Yusuf Pathan, Billy Stanlake, David Warner, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Shakib Al Hasan, Wriddhiman Saha, Martin Guptill, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem.

Match starts 8 PM.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 1:00:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/indian-premier-league-2019-rajasthan-royals-vs-sunrisers-hyderabad-in-jaipur/article26953115.ece

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