Friday, Sep 19, 2014

IPL 7: High-flying RR favourites versus faltering SRH

Ajinkya Rahane is Rajasthan Royals' in-form batsman and top scorer with 224 runs (Photo: BCCI/IPL) Ajinkya Rahane is Rajasthan Royals' in-form batsman and top scorer with 224 runs (Photo: BCCI/IPL)
Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Posted: May 8, 2014 2:07 am | Updated: May 8, 2014 5:23 pm

After an unlikely come-from-behind victory, a buoyant Rajasthan Royals will take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Sardar Patel stadium, Motera, on Thursday. Having caused a spectacular collapse against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday, Rajasthan who are third on the table with 10 points from seven games will be looking to fortify their position in the top-half of the table with another positive result. The Sunrisers, though, are in immediate need of a turnaround.

Having suffered a demoralising loss against an AB de Villiers inspired Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, the Sunrisers are just one place off the bottom of the table with four points from six games. A win in Ahmedabad, therefore, seems essential for the team.

Collective performance

On Monday, the Royals were helped by contributions from four of their top-five batsmen. Ajinkya Rahane currently occupies the sixth slot on the highest run-scorers list. His opening partner, Karun Nair, has also struck form, and coupled with Sanju Samson and Shane Watson, the Royals have a formidable batting arsenal. In comparison, the Sunrisers have depended largely on their trio of Shikhar Dhawan, Aaron Finch and David Warner. Finch has been the Sunrisers’ best batsman, aggregating 182 runs in six hits. The Sunrisers’ thin middle-order is a major cause of concern with Darren Sammy failing to deliver the big hits. KL Rahul’s 124 runs in five outings have been a ray of hope for the team.

Consistent attack

While the Sunrisers bowling took a bruising against RCB, the Royals bowling has worn a very settled and confident look. Young leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia was handed a debut in the last game against KKR but apart from that, Watson has relied on himself,veteran Pravin Tambe and the pace-duo of James Faulkner and Tim Southee.

Tambe has perhaps been the most effective spinner in this edition of the tournament. Fresh from a hat-trick against KKR, the 42-year-old who has picked up 12 wickets from seven matches, has put in some valuable shifts for the Royals. With a strike-rate of 14.00 and an economy of 6.35, Tambe has been Watson’s go-to man, donning both roles that of a containing bowler as well as strike option effectively.

The Sunrisers opted to leave out leg-spinner Amit Mishra in their last game but with spin having been important in the last game played at Motera, the management might be well served to go in for a two-pronged spin-attack with Mishra partnering the impressive Karn Sharma.

Dale Steyn was taken apart by de Villiers on Sunday however the South African pacer along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is constantly troubling batsmen with the swinging ball, have consistently given the Sunrisers good starts with the ball.

However, Ishant Sharma’s form, an economy rate of 9.18 coupled with an average of 33.66 has ensured that the pressure that Steyn continued…

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