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|Shakib Al Hasan||4.0||0||23||2||5.75|
Both Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad need to quickly recover from the shocking ball tampering incident due to which they'll be without their regular skippers. The two teams will lock horns in the 4th match of this year's Indian Premier League which will be the first match for both the sides. The match will be played at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad on 9th April 2018. Both the teams will love to register their first win of the tournament in their opening match and we expect both the sides to come out all guns blazing.
Sunrisers Hyderabad retained three players before the auction, but the number has effectively been reduced to two because of their regular skipper, David Warner, ruled out of the tournament. The responsibility of the captaincy has been handed over to another veteran, Kane Williamson and the franchise has called Alex Hales in as a replacement for David Warner.
More than their batting, the Sunrisers are known for their superb death bowling. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan in the mix, they can make any team succumb under the pressure of scoring quickly and thereby picking up wickets in the process. They further bolstered their bowling further by picking up Basil Thampi, T Natrajan, and Shakib Al Hasan in the auction.
They also picked up Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan to their lineup. While the numbers of Yusuf Pathan have been on the decline in the recent past, he was a key player for KKR. Manish Pandey also moved from KKR to Sunrisers and he will be hoping to build on the good reputation he gained will playing for Kolkata Knight Riders.
David Warner's captaincy was one of the biggest reasons for their 2016 title win and his presence will certainly be felt. Kane Williamson has been an inspirational captain for New Zealand and his calmness might well be the tonic that SRH needs. With Shikhar Dhawan in prime form and Alex Hales likely to join him at the top, their powerplay batting stays as destructive as it was with Warner around. SRH is one of the most well-balanced squads of the tournament and it will be tough to get past them.
Predicted Likely XI: Shikhar Dhawan - Wriddhiman Saha - Kane Williamson (c) - Manish Pandey - Shakib al Hasan - Dhawal Kulkarni - Rashid Khan - Bhuvneshwar Kumar - Sandeep Sharma - Billy Stanlake - Basil Thampi
Shikhar Dhawan, KS Williamson, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, YK Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, WP Saha, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Billy Stanlake, Siddarth Kaul.
In the ten years old history of world's costliest Cricket league, Rajasthan Royals have seen it all. After winning the inaugural edition of the tournament, they had a few ordinary years before being banned for two years. They now make a return to the tournament in a fashion they were not known to be - spending the most in the auction.
The only player they chose to retain, Steve Smith, is now a history for them and Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side. While Rahane is an experienced cricketer, he may be able to fill up for Smith's captaincy, but his presence as a batsman will certainly be felt. Heinrich Klaasen has been called in as a replacement for Smith, but given the fact that Jos Buttler is already available, Klassen might not be given a run from the first match.
D'arcy Short, too, is expected to miss the first few games of the season, thanks to a delay in his visa processing and passport delivery. Despite his absence, the Royals have one of the most solid batting lineups in the tournament. The opening pair of Rahul Tripathi and Ajinkya Rahane did well for Pune last year and with Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, and Jos Buttler to follow, they couldn't have asked for more firepower.
Unlike the past few editions, the Royals failed to grab an experienced spinner in the IPL auction. Rajasthan will miss the services of an experienced spinner and therefore a lot will depend upon young Ankit Sharma and Zahir Khan from Afghanistan. Considering Jaipur's track, they picked up good seamers in Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni. Given the availability of reliable Indian players and the flexibility offered by their foreign stars, Rajasthan Royals will be a dangerous team to deal with.
Predicted Likely XI: Rahul Tripathi - Ajinkya Rahane (c) - Sanju Samson (wk) - Ben Stokes - Jos Buttler - Dhawal Kulkarni - Krishnappa Gowtham - Ben Laughlin - Jofra Archer - Shreyas Gopal - Jaydev Unadkat
Ajinkya Rahane, D'Arcy Short, SV Samson, BA Stokes, RA Tripathi, Jos Buttler, K Gowtham, S Gopal, DS Kulkarni, JD Unadkat, Ben Laughlin.
Teams have generally preferred to chase at this venue and given the chances of rain, the captains are expected to win the toss and field first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Hyderabad is generally dry, but the forecast for the match day is a lot different. Heavy rainfall along with scattered thunderstorm is expected which may tempt captains to chase first considering the fact that DLS method may come into the picture. While the bowlers have thrived on this pitch more often than not, the ground offers good value for the shots, thanks to the quick outfield.
It will be interesting to see the two teams come out without their regular skippers: Steve Smith and David Warner for RR and SRH respectively. Hyderabad's pitch is known to offer assistance to quick bowlers and the Sunrisers have the better resources to exploit the conditions. Rajasthan Royals rely heavily on Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler to score heavily during the backend of the innings. The Sunrisers appear to be a better team on paper and with a bowling attack capable of taking wickets on any surface, the home team is likely to prevail at Hyderabad.
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