Sunrisers Hyderabad Recent Form
After finishing rock bottom last season, Sunriseres Hyderabad made some curious decisions before the start of this season.
They decided to keep Kane Williamson on as skipper, probably a good choice. But in making him their highest paid player, they lost Rashid Khan in the process.
And then rather than retain some of their more experienced players in addition to Williamson, they kept on Abdul Samad and Umran Malik, who are more ones for the future.
But they can’t do any worse than last season, they’ll have Williamson in charge from the start this year and if they can be the ones to get Nicholas Pooran to bat the way we know he can, they could have a better season than some may think.
Sean Abbott is the only player currently unavailable for them as he’s currently playing for Australia.
With no David Warner or Jonny Bairstow around anymore, Williamson is likely to open the batting and play an anchor role, meaning he’s unlikely to be too aggressive from the start and will look to bat deep.
Romario Shepherd will have an important role to play as a big-hitting all-rounder while it will be interesting to see the experience of Bhuvi Kumar and the raw pace of Umran Malik in tandem.
Player to Watch: Washington Sundar
Sundar has become a key player for India across all formats for the last year or so, testament to his progress.
In truth, he’s been good but not spectacular in the IPL over the years but maybe a change of team will see him step up a bit.
SRH will look to him to bowl four tight overs and know he can bowl at any stage of the innings, while his batting has improved over the last year or so and he’ll have a big role to play at six or seven with the bat, as well.
He’s just the sort of player they’ll look to build a team around and Williamson may be the skipper to get the best out of him.
10CRIC make him 5.12 to be their top bowler in the match. And here’s our detailed 10CRIC review, by the way.
Hyderabad’s Likely XI
Williamson, Tripathi, Pooran, Samad, Philips, Sundar, Shepherd, Bhuv Kumar, Gopal, Natarajan, Umran Malik
Rajasthan Royals’ Recent Form
The Rajasthan Royals had another poor season, with only SRH doing worse than them!
They seem to have abandoned their policy of packing the side with English players and Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Liam Livingstone have all moved on, with only Jos Buttler remaining from the English contingent.
Samson stays on as skipper and they also decided to retain Buttler, who has been extremely consistent for them over the years.
The bowling looks very decent considering Ashwin and Chahal are India regulars, Boult is a key player for New Zealand and in Coulter-Nile and Neesham, they have two very handy all-rounders.
South African batter Rassie van der Dussen should be available here after returning from playing for his country in an ODI Series against Bangladesh.
Like all the others, he decided to play IPL rather than the upcoming Test series.
He may well play at some stage but for the time being they’re likely to go with big-money signing Shimron Hetmeyer in that middle-order.
The spin pairing of Ravi Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal will be extremely important to them over the course of the season.
Player to Watch: Sanju Samson
We haven’t mentioned him yet but Samson will be absolutely vital to the Royals this season.
This will be his second season in charge so no excuses when it comes to on-field leadership, bowling changes and fielding placements this time round.
He’s always been a fine keeper but his batting has also progressed considerably over the years, to the extent that he’s on the fringes of the India side and may just be the heir to the number three position once Kohli calls it a day.
He’s always a very quick scorer and many teams will see him and Buttler as the key wickets. He has a busy season on his hands.
Betway make it 11.0 he’s man-of-the-match here.
Royals’ Likely XI
Buttler, Jaiswal, Paddikal, Samson, Hetmyer, Parag, Coulter-Nile, Ravi Ashwin, Boult, Yuz Chahal, P Krishna
Venue & conditions
The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune hasn’t been used since the Pune Super Giants were in the league all those years ago.
So it will be a bit hard to know what to expect from this surface, which is why the captain winning the toss is likely to want to chase because it won’t be so easy to know what a par score is.
When India played here a couple of years ago against Sri Lanka, they posted just over 200, so the signs are that it should be a good wicket.