Shikhar Dhawan will lead Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2014 © IANS
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Apr 17, 2014
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) open their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 campaign with a clash at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on April 17. The two teams had qualified to the play-offs last season and have done well to keep their main core intact going into this season. Both sides would want to better their performances of the previous season and they do have the firepower to threaten the best in the business.
Going by the first game at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium played between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, chasing wouldn’t be easy and any team winning the toss would want to bat first. There is a bit of grass on the wicket and the batsmen may be a bit wary of that.
Rajasthan have retained their best and this forms the crux of their batting. Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny and Sanju Samson would be the main batsmen. Rahane, Watson and Samson would form three out of the top four. It looks like Unmukt Chand could open the batting with Rahane for this season. Lower down the order, they would have James Faulkner who has shown his abilities as a batsman off late.
But, there may be a few tough selection calls for Rajasthan. They have Kevon Cooper, Steven Smith and Tim Southee to choose from as far as all-rounders are concerned. However, they may go for Brad Hodge, who will absorb the pressure in the middle. Then, they can also choose from Abhishek Nayar and Rajat Bhatia to come in the middle. Pravin Tambe should hone the spinning duties for Rajasthan.
Hyderabad did well at the auction to form a good combination. They have retained some of the stars from the previous season and have also managed to rope in new faces to give strength to the line-up. David Warner and Aaron Finch should be in the side and they will form a good top three with Shikhar Dhawan. Darren Sammy and Dale Steyn should be the other overseas players in this line-up.
They will then have a bowling attack with a similar look. Ishant Sharma will combine with Steyn and Sammy in the seam bowling department. But there is Bhuvneshwar Kumar as well and that should give Hyderabad a few selection headaches. Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma would be the spinners. So, no changes as far as the bowling is concerned. The inclusion of Irfan Pathan also gives them more balance as he can contribute in both departments.
Early in the season, it is often tough to call who would get picked as these are new units. Things would be clearer after the first round of games.
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), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Irfan Pathan, Srikkanth Anirudha, Darren Sammy, Naman Ojha (wk), Parvez Rasool, Dale Steyn, Amit Mishra, Karn Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Ricky Bhui, Amit Paunikar, Moises Henriques, Ashish Reddy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jason Holder, Chama Milind, Manpreet Juneja, KL Rahul, Brendan Taylor, Prasanth Parmeswaran, Venugopal Rao, KL Rahul.
Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT
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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)