Rajasthan v Hyderabad, IPL 2013, 1st eliminator, Delhi May 21, 2013

Evenly matched teams in a battle of wits


Match facts

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

The first eliminator of IPL 2013 features two unlikely, yet similar competitors, in Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad. The thread of similarity extends beyond the 'underdog' status.

They've had similar journeys to the playoffs. Both sides have been strong at home, with Royals finishing unbeaten and Sunrisers losing just one game, to Chennai Super Kings. Their record away from home this season has also been similar. Royals have managed two away wins in eight games, while Sunrisers have won three.

Heading into the first eliminator of the IPL, that's where the similarities between the two teams end. Royals sealed their spot in the last four in great style, with a shock win against Chennai Super Kings. The losses in their next two matches, however, meant that they were deprived of a top-two finish and another shot at qualifying for the final. Heavy losses in their last two games and the cloud of the spot-fixing scandal wouldn't have done their confidence any good, but they are a determined side that have converted a good start to the tournament into a top-three finish.

Sunrisers, on the other hand, are riding a wave of confidence, with two wins in their last two games. They've played a largely unchanged side throughout the tournament but more importantly, have responded well to pressure, especially in the final game against Kolkata Knight Riders, where Darren Sammy guided the side home after the side had come very close to imploding.

The two teams match up evenly on the field. Sunrisers have a much better bowling attack compared to Royals, who have relied on purple cap-holder James Faulkner and Shane Watson. In terms of batting, however, Royals are clearly stronger. As Royals look to emerge winners in the first eliminator, Brad Hogg and Shaun Tait might get a look-in to strengthen the side's bowling with experience.

Form guide

Rajasthan Royals LLWWW (most recent first)
Sunrisers Hyderabad WWLWL

In the spotlight

Shane Watson's importance to Rajasthan Royals simply cannot be played down. His return to bowling has opened up an extra slot in the team for them, while his batting set up some of their biggest wins this season. Royals have used him smartly, pushing him down the order in tough chases, against Super Kings for instance, or using his big-hitting skills to set up quick starts at the top of the order.

Given their lack of experience, Sunrisers' young Indian players have grown with their performances in the season. Although he has drawn criticism for his slow strike-rate, Hanuma Vihari has played to the set role of holding one end up to stem wickets. Biplab Samantray showed maturity as he guided Sunrisers to a competitive total against Royals. Legspinner Karan Sharma, too, has also done well in the opportunities he has been given, picking up 10 wickets from 12 matches at an average of 20.6 and an economy rate of 6.27.

Stats and trivia

  • Shane Watson needs four more wickets to reach a milestone of 100 T20 wickets
  • James Faulkner is the only player in T20 cricket to have picked up five wickets against the same team (Sunrisers Hyderabad) twice in a season/tournament.
  • Dale Steyn's economy rate of 5.65 is the second-best in the tournament, among bowlers who have bowled more than 30 overs. Sunil Narine leads the list with an economy rate of 5.46
  • Sunrisers have restricted their opponents to a score of 130 or less in 10 of their 16 league matches


"I believe the reason we have succeeded as a group is because this team is not about any individual. We all gel together and enjoy each other's success. We stuck to our plans, executed them well and played good cricket."
Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman, Shikhar Dhawan

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2013, 16:36 GMT

    So SRH have achieved their goal of reaching 130+. and left it to their bowlers once again to defend. Keeping my fingers crossed. Kashinath

  • Thilanka on May 22, 2013, 14:26 GMT

    No worries , grand finals will CSK vs RR

  • Thilanka on May 22, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    my 4 overseas players 1.perera 2.stayn 3.sammy 4.sanga

  • Nikhil on May 22, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    I love both teams. RR mainly because of Dravid - it's most probably his last IPL, so I would like them to win. SRH because the whole team has been fantastic, proving all critics wrong; also I, like the millions of others, is a huge Steyn fan. Tough pick this one! May the better team today win! :)

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    SrH team is same as India in WC2013.. Keep rocking.. whole hydbaadi supportss//

  • Rakesh on May 22, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    @ MichealT - The Wall with holes. If Dravid plays 10 overs SRH wins. Target would be under 6 rpo. That is is RR bats first. Rahane n Dravid can not chase a target over 9 runs and over. Both play pathetically slow.

  • Peace on May 22, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    All Sanga fans..SRH management has asked him to take rest for the rest of the matches. So dont keep any hopes of Sanga. Sanga has dropped because of poor form, and for god sake please dont say that sanga will strengthen batting lineup.

  • Zain on May 22, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    Stein vs Watson, all the other are mere contributers. Watson is a true champ of T20 and Stein is best in all other formats. SRH is good in bowling but they have to face "THE WALL". It will be a fun game but RR has some edge.

  • senthil on May 22, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    Today SRH is winning the match there is no doubt about it. Because they are very strong side and also RR is missing some kind of unity in the team. I hope Sanga will not play today if he plays there some possibility for RR otherwise its so clear that SRH will go thorough.

  • Nadeera on May 22, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    Please don't send Vihari ahead of White,Perera or Sammy.Because he eats 35-40bowls in every match with low strike rate..Sammy isn't a pinch hitter.He can build the innings well with healthy strike rate.He is my num3 batsman.Perera can play as a just hitter.But Vihari's game is simply painful.