The Jaipur-based franchise were not pleased by the dismissal of their opener and English wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, out ‘Mankaded’ by Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday night. A loss at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium (SMS) in Jaipur, which has long been the Royals fortress is not ideal as they get ready for a tough away fixture against the Sunrisers in Hyderabad on Friday.
Sunrisers, the 2018 runners-up, were impressive in their opening game against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday afternoon but their bowlers seemed clueless to stop a marauding Andre Russell at the Eden Gardens. The hosts should be buoyed by skipper Kane Williamson’s recovery from injury and the addition of big Australian paceman Billy Stanlake.
The Aussie speedster provides pace and bounce to the Sunrisers attack which struggled to keep KKR in check. Stanlake could be possible replacement for Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan, after he failed to defend 13 runs in the final over in Kolkata.
Williamson might need to replace Jonny Bairstow which means in-form Bengal wicketkeeper Shreevats Goswami might come into the side and be asked to open alongside David Warner as well.
The Royals, on their part, will need the middle-order to chip in to back up the efforts of Buttler. The likes of former captain Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi and Krishnappa Gowtham all need to step up with the willow, after a dramatic collapse in their opening match when they lost seven wickets for 16 runs.
Players to watch out for:
David Warner: The Australian opener made a sensational comeback to IPL after sitting out last season due to Cricket Australia’s ban for ball-tampering. Warner looked like a man-on-a-mission against KKR, smashing 85 off 53 balls. The Sunrisers southpaw carried on the form that made him not only one of the top but one of the most destructive run-getters in IPL.
Jos Buttler: The England wicketkeeper-batsman has found a new leash of life in the IPL since he was sent to the top of the order by the Rajasthan Royals last season. A batsman who loves the ball coming on to the bat, Buttler scored 548 runs last season at an average of 54.8 with five fifties. Now he has started the 2019 season in the same vein, blazing 69 off 43 balls before he was controversially ‘mankaded’ by R. Ashwin.
Hyderabad: Skipper Kane Williamson appears to have recovered from a shoulder injury which kept him out of the opening match. Australian paceman Billy Stanlake has also joined the Sunrisers and gives additional bowling option for Williamson to choose from.
Rajasthan: Although there are no injury concerns for the Royals, the team might be tempted to try out an in-form Ashton Turner to replace Steve Smith, who looked patchy in the opening tie. Paceman Varun Aaron, who has been among the wickets in the domestic season, could give them another pace option if they opt to replace Jaydev Unadkat, who leaked 44 runs in three overs against Kings XI Punjab.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Shreevats Goswami/Wriddhiman Saha, Kane Williamson (captain), Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan/Billy Stanlake, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma/Basil Thampi and Siddharth Kaul
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Steven Smith/Ashton Turner, Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny/Manan Vohra, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat/Varun Aaron, Shreyas Gopal and Dhawal Kulkarni
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Shakib Al Hasan, Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill, Ricky Bhui, Shreevats Goswami, Wriddhiman Saha, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Billy Stanlake, K. Khaleel Ahmed, T. Natarajan.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler, Steven Smith, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Ish Sodhi, Varun Aaron, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone, Shubham Ranjane, Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Sudhesan Midhun, Aryaman Birla, Manan Vohra, Prashant Chopra.
First Published: March 28, 2019, 7:57 PM IST