Sunrisers Hyderabad v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2014, Abu Dhabi April 17, 2014

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face off


Play 04:07
Dravid's absence will affect Rajasthan

Match facts

Hyderabad v Rajasthan, Abu Dhabi
Thursday, April 18, 2014
Start time 1830 (1430 GMT, 2000 IST)

Big Picture

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad were rabid in their defence of low totals, winning three out of four times they posted under 140. Both teams have, in the past, squeezed every last resource available to produce the desired result. It remains to be seen if the revamped teams can do the same this season.

Shane Watson, Rajasthan's new captain, proclaimed the side has emerged stronger after the spot-fixing scandal and the only thing on their minds is the season ahead. They have a settled squad and bank on each player justifying his potential and sometimes exceeding it. Take the case of their allrounders: James Faulkner, in 2013, became the first bowler to snare two five-fors in the same edition and has since gained considerable repute at the death, with both bat and ball. Abhishek Nayar and Rajat Bhatia have had little or no opportunity to showcase their wares in international cricket, but their all-round value is beyond question.

Hyderabad also ride on two explosive talents from Australia as well. The top-order looks terrifying with the newly-enlisted Aaron Finch and David Warner and combining with captain Shikhar Dhawan. But brittleness lurks lower down. Most teams would attempt to nip out the two big-hitting Australians with spin early on and hope for the middle order to falter. But as Hyderabad showed last season, their Dale Steyn-led bowling attack is more than game to pick up the slack, especially if Abu Dhabi welcomes both teams with another grassy pitch.

Watch out for ...

The T20 world has learned to speak Darren Sammy's name in hushed tones this year. A strike-rate of 212.32 and a penchant for dusting off chases with the most brutal flourish has elevated the allrounder on par with the best finishers in the business. Plus, the number of Australians in the opposition might tempt him to up his game just that bit more.

Steven Smith is everyone's favourite scrapper. He was an instant hit in his debut season and the effort he places into building his game and an admirably cool head under pressure has hoisted him to be in contention for Australia's Test captaincy. A fact Rajasthan would have paid attention to while snapping him up as their most expensive buy.

Stats and trivia

  • Rajasthan knocked Hyderabad out of the tournament last year in the eliminator match

  • Dale Steyn's economy rate of 6.34 is the best among fast bowlers in the league

    Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

  • Comments have now been closed for this article

    • Dummy4 on April 18, 2014, 14:45 GMT

      If SRH wanna win this match they should keep ishant away from the playing 11!!!

    • Android on April 18, 2014, 14:12 GMT

      hyderabad may win this day bcoz dey have gud batsmens & evn xtraordinary bowlers & spinners...!!!

    • Amit on April 18, 2014, 14:00 GMT

      Steve Smith roks and so is going tobe Royals...

    • Android on April 18, 2014, 13:39 GMT

      hyderabad badsha dhawan one man show

    • Ayaaz on April 18, 2014, 12:56 GMT

      I hope Parvez Rasool is given a chance today, coz he deserves it and He is not only a decent off spin bowler but also a really handy and good batsman!Hope he makes it to playing 11 !

    • Deepak on April 18, 2014, 10:09 GMT

      The Royals are no match to the Sunrisers. I mean, look at the Sunrisers squad. The top three consists of Dhawan, Finch and Warner. The pace attack has Steyn, Ishant, Kumar and Holder. The spin department looks strong with the two leggies Mishra and Karn Sharma, along with the offie Rasool. There are capable all rounders in Sammy and Pathan. The Royals, in comparison, are over-reliant on a few players and their bowlers will be smashed to all parts of the stadium this season. Watson, who can't even control himself, will find it difficult to captain this team.

    • Dummy4 on April 18, 2014, 9:30 GMT

      Watson is set to open with Rahane. Its not a bad idea to go with Smith in initial few matches instead of Hodge and see how it goes. If the pitch assists spin, it would be nice to keep Abdulla in the team as well. Success of Samson and Binny is key here as well. My 11 will be as follows.

      1)Watson 2)Rahane 3)Samson 4)Binny 5)Smith 6)Abhishek Nayar/Chand 7)Faulkner 8)Cooper/Southee/Cutting 9)Thambe 10)Abdulla/Kulkarni 11)Bhatia

    • Dummy4 on April 18, 2014, 9:21 GMT

      my team will be - A rahane U chand S watson S sammon S smith A nayar S binny j faulknar / b hodge I abdulla T Southee P tabmbe

    • Android on April 18, 2014, 9:08 GMT

      1.Ajinkya Rahane 2.Unmukt Chand 3.Sanju Samson 4.Shane Watson 5.Stuart Binny 6.Brad Hodge 7.Steve Smith 8.James Faulkner 9.Pravin Tambe 10.Dhawal Kulkarni 11.Iqbal Abdulla

      This should be the team for today's game..! This looks rock solid in batting bowling and fielding...! Spin department looks a little weak but it can be overcomed by match practise. Also other batsmen all rounders and fast bowlers should cover them up. If this team is played RR will win for sure. #Halla Bol.... #RR

    • Sam on April 18, 2014, 8:43 GMT

      My Teams:

      RR XI: (Please don't play Chand. He's slow, doesn't have good T20 stats and was a flop in his previous IPL outings, Watson should open) 1 Watson (C) 2 Rahane 3 Samson (WK) 4 S Smith 5 Hodge 6 Binny 7 Karun Nair 8 Faulkner 9 Bhatia 10 I Abdullah 11 Tambe.

      SRH XI: 1 Dhawan (C) 2 Warner 3 Finch 4 Juneja 5 N Ojha (WK) 6 K Sharma 7 Sammy 8 I Pathan/Rasool 9 Mishra 10 Steyn 11 Bhuvneshwar.

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