Rajasthan Royals v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2013, Jaipur April 26, 2013

The surprise successes face off

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Match facts

Saturday, April 27, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big Picture

As this season's IPL approaches its half-way stage, the points table will, increasingly, come to dominate the attention of teams and players. Not much separates two team which were widely predicted to struggle, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals - Royals have played one game less and are two points behind - and both look good to remain strong contenders for a place in the top four as the competition for points intensifies. Both played their respective previous games against Chennai Super Kings, and lost in an almost identical fashion with the games decided in the final over of Super Kings' chase.

There was another striking commonality: allrounders who played a crucial role in helping their team post a competitive score slipped up in the final over - Ashish Reddy and Shane Watson. The teams are playing each other for the first time this season, on a Jaipur track on which seamers have had considerable success. Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma will be aware, so will Shaun Tait - it remains to be seen if he plays - and Sreesanth. Shikhar Dhawan and Watson are fresh from impressive knocks at the top of the order, and there is plenty of spunk in the middle to surge in the death overs. Though Royals may sense a slight edge playing at home, these two teams seem fairly evenly matched with the way things have panned out this season.

Form guide

Rajasthan Royals: LLWWL
Sunrisers Hyderabad: LWWLW

Players to watch

Cameron White has quietened down with the bat after his match-winning innings against Royal Challengers Bangalore more than two weeks ago. He's batted in the top four over the last three games but hasn't really got going.

James Faulkner has been a valuable addition to the Royals XI, has been picked for the Ashes where he could have to play a greater role with the bat at No.7. His bowling skills have impressed many this IPL; he also has a decent record with the bat in the longer formats.

Stats and trivia

  • Unheralded Sunrisers legspinner Karan Sharma has the best economy rate this season - 4.41 (min. 10 overs)
  • Faulkner has the best average (9.45), best strike-rate 10.4 and third best economy-rate 5.42 this season (min. 10 overs)

Quotes

"We showed characteristics of a side that can fight till the last minute of the game and I'm very proud of each of the players." Tom Moody, the Sunrisers coach, after his team's defeat to Super Kings.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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