Hyderabad: After losing a hard-fought contest to Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, Rajasthan Royals were jolted by a spot-fixing scandal the next day which involved three of its players being arrested on allegations of illegal activity. To recover from something as big as this requires a lot of effort but Rajasthan is just the team that has the capability to do it and maintain the bar they have set in this year's IPL.
It was an evenly fought contest which went in favour of the home team. For a side which has seen all their batsmen scoring consistently, chasing down 165 on a Wankhede Stadium surface was a tad tough to believe. But from 28 for 4, Rajasthan recovered nicely only to eventually fall short by 14 runs.
Their recent experiment to send Shane Watson down the order has given mixed results. With 20 points in their bag, Rajasthan would not like to jeopardize their chances of playing the Qualifier instead of the Eliminator. For obvious reasons, the bowling will be in for a drastic change without Ankeet Chavan, Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila. In their places, Harmeet Singh, Siddharth Trivedi and Ashok Menaria would be the likely replacements. Trivedi has been in excellent form and James Faulkner will once again lead the bowling pack.
There is one thing common in these two sides. Both are coming off a defeat against Mumbai. Sunrisers have a couple of games left and they need to win in order to book a place in the final four. The Cameron White-led side has been known for its bowling pedigree but the game against Mumbai must have silenced all those questioning their batting. Parthiv Patel and Shikhar Dhawan have been hitting the ball well and would be keen on giving their team a decent start. The likes of White and Hanuma Vihari have stabilised the middle order and the all-round abilities of Thisara Perera and Darren sammy have been a crucial ace up their sleeves.
Dale Steyn will again spearhead the Hyderabad attack along with Ishant Sharma. Perera, who was at the receiving end of Kieron Pollard's massacre the other day, would like to forget the nightmare and get his bowling back on track. Spinner Amit Mishra has proven to be an asset on his day.
Both sides have a heavy motive going into Friday's game in what would turn out to provide a decisive result heading into the play-offs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Hanuma Vihari, 4 Cameron White (capt), 5 Thisara Perera, 6 Darren Sammy 7 Biplab Samantray, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Karan Sharma, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Dale Steyn
Rajasthan Royals: 1 Rahul Dravid (capt), 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Sanju Samson, 5 Stuart Binny, 6 Brad Hodge, 7 Dishant Yagnik (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Kevon Cooper, 10 Harmeet Singh, 11 Siddharth Trivedi