Rajasthan Royals are sitting pretty at the third spot in the IPL 2014 points table © PTI
By R Vishal
May 7, 2014
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 gathering steam, the 30th match of the competition will see the in-form Rajasthan Royals (RR) take on the erratic Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the inaugural winners’ adopted home, Ahmedabad.
Rajasthan have been on a roll in IPL 7. After an indifferent start to the competition, Shane Watson’s side has been on a winning streak and always, they have unearthed some unheralded names as match winners. Ajinkya Rahane has taken the mantle of a senior player in the Rajasthan set-up and has consistently been giving them good starts in the tournament. India’s rising star Sanju Samson’s contributions are critical and the Kerala opener’s exquisite stroke-making and solid technique have risen by another notch. Samson should strive for greater consistency though.
The bowling department has been sensational for Rajasthan recently. Pravin Tambe’s two-ball hat-trick will be the talk of the IPL for some time to come and the 42-year-old leg-spinner is going from strength-to-strength in the tournament.
Australian left-arm pacer James Faulkner has been stingy while conceding runs and taken wickets at regular intervals. Taking the mantle of a senior strike bowler was never going to be easy but Faulkner has revelled in it. Paying the perfect foil to Faulkner and lending him ample support is the rookie Australian medium pacer Kane Richardson. He has not played all the games so far and it will be interesting to see what combination Rajasthan goes with.
Cleaning up the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) top order in no time, Hyderabad were on course for a certain win before AB de Villiers decided to take matters in his own hands and played one of the all-time great IPL knocks so far. Sunrisers should not let their defeat affect their mental state and should quickly aim to get back to winning ways. IPL 7 has been a struggle for Hyderabad though.
Despite having some power-packed names in the line-up, the team has come a cropper. Shikhar Dhawan’s captaincy has been uninspiring and their batting relies heavily on one of the swashbuckling Aaron Finch or David Warner to see them through.
The big money buy, Karn Sharma put an extremely good show in the last game after the team management decided to drop the out-of-sorts Amit Mishra. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, as always has been consistent, reliable and taken wickets at regular intervals and given good support to the magnificent Dale Steyn.
Steyn’s form though, has only been patchy and the tearaway pacer will still be smarting from de Villiers’s extraordinary assault on him in Bangalore. While they will surely be missing their fortress Sawai Mansingh stadium, Ahmedabad will see Rajasthan as firm favourites to win the tie.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Ankush Bains, James Faulkner, Pravin Tambe, Kevon Cooper, Unmukt Chand, Steven Smith, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Iqbal Abdullah, Karun Nair, Vikramjeet Malik, Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Kane Richardson, Dishant Yagnik (wk), Tim Southee, Rahul Tewatia, Ankit Sharma, Amit Mishra.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Dale Steyn, David Warner, Darren Sammy, Amit Mishra, Aaron Finch, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Brendan Taylor, Moises Henriques, Venugopala Rao, Jason Holder, S Aniruddha, Manprit Juneja, KL Rahul, Amit Paunikar, Naman Ojha, Ricky Bhui, Ashish Reddy, Chama Milind, Parveez Rasool, Prashanth Parameshwaran, Karn Sharma.
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(R Vishal is a journalist and alumni of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)