Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers Hyderabad may not be in contention for a place in the playoffs, but they’ll be looking to spoil a party or two. Rajasthan Royals of Sanju Samson, beware!
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In the last five we will
RR has operated two wickets, but the asking rate is well under control at less than seven years, and Williamson is still there. RR still has two overs from Skaraia and Mustafiz, plus one from Morris or Unadkat. Their equation is simple: they need Williamson. If he gets through, SRH will in all likelihood win.
In his SRH debut, Jason Roy, another of the hitters with elite intent, knocked out Rahul Tewatia – no limit in the first two overs – in the 11th with sweeps and a reverse sweep. With Tewatia not getting much elsewhere, neither diving nor drifting, it is easier to line up. That brings it up to 59 of 39, opening the contest and giving them insurance against a meltdown. At 111 for 1 in 11 overs, they only need a ball run now.
Granted, RR doesn’t have a spinner of a Narin’s mystery or a Chahal’s class, but scoring hasn’t been easy against them. More six, seven, eight and nine created some pressure, going for a single limit, but in the 10th Williamson hit a short Lomror ball for a longer six. Halfway through, SRH is 90 to 1 and 86% favorites to win.
SRH takes the Powerplay
Sixty-three for 1 in six overs in a 165 chase, and you might be tempted to say that if there is one team that can lose from here, it’s SRH. They have Jason Roy and Kane Williamson in the middle, but there’s not much proven quality to follow. RR, who has been indifferent with the ball and on the pitch so far, will have to tighten them up here. Expect a lot of slower balls now that the pitch can expand. Just 7.28 one in required, SRH 78% favorites on our forecaster, but one wicket can make a difference here.
Bhuvi still has it
There are two reasons Bhuvneshwar Kumar was picked ahead of Deepak Chahar for the World Cup: Bhuvneshwar is better at death, and he is better on slower throws. Amid the chaos as Samson started two overs before the death overs, Bhuvneshwar pegged RR with overs 17 and 19 for a total of 17 runs. It was the break in the momentum SRH needed as overs 15 and 16 went for 11 and 20. On slow ground, to death, Bhuvneshwar showed he had the goods, finishing with numbers of 4-1-28-1.
Once again, a team faltered to death after putting on a good showing for 180-190 in Dubai. Among the IPL sites this year, Dubai has the second lowest score rate in the last two editions. RR may have taken the more adventurous route, but they have the same mid-160s that RCB had last night. Will this prove to be sufficient?
RR forced to be conservative
RR also tried to go further in the intermediaries, but the loss of wickets slowed them down. This partnership now has 3.5 overs, and Samson and Lomror have only touched the two offensive shots. Samson is now playing a Kohli type set: 38 of 36 now, and is hoping to concede in the end. RR 102 for 3 out of 14 overs.
Livingstone won Rashid’s first balloon
Much like we mention Livingstone’s strike rate against Rashid Khan in T20 cricket elsewhere, Rashid runs bowling, throws a long dirty jump, Livingstone sees six, shoots up, gets an advantage, and Rashid timidly accepts the wicket. They are now 77 for 3 in 10.1, and one wonders if Kohli was right from the start: don’t overestimate yourself and risk ending up at 20. What we have to remember is that these are not your typical T20 conditions. . The shots are slower than last year and two of the three outfields are big.
Two different approaches
We saw last night how RCB approached the intermediaries. They had decided that a man should strike to the death, so they only attacked one end in the middle. What they got seemed insufficient but turned out to be a lot.
RR attacks from both sides. Sanju Samson, despite an ordinary record against the spinners, especially the bad one, swept Rashid Khan upside down in his first round, and Yash Jaiswal made room to hit Sandeep Sharma for six in the eighth. Then Jaiswal attempted another big hit, playing Sandeep, 36 at a strike rate of 157.
Now comes out Liam Livngstone, who has the best strike rate against Rashid in all T20 crickets. RR 77 for 2 after 10 overs, Samson 30 on 28.
Powerplay finished, now start the real game
Despite Evin Lewis’ early defeat, the Rajasthan Royals continued in Powerplay and managed to reach 49-1 at the end of Powerplay. You would typically take such Powerplay as your hitting side, but you’ve also known from last night that the game changes here once the field expands and the spin kicks in. Can the Royals find a way to keep scoring against one of the two or three T20 greats of all time, Rashid Khan?
No Butta Bomma for the SSR
David Warner started this IPL season as captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad. He had elite numbers for them: 95 games, average just under 50, strike rate above 142. This season, however, has not run its course: eight games and a strike rate of just 107.73. The ax fell for the second time this season. Today apparently he has not even moved the field. This is one of the iconic images of IPL: Warner leading SRH but drawing Williamson’s brain to the limit when the latter is in the extras. You wonder what Warner’s state of mind is in that he hasn’t arrived there yet. This is one of the great associations of IPL, Warner and SRH, and while it comes to an end with the big auction scheduled before the next IPL, they have created a lot of memories and magic together.
Changes all around
Nice little moment when Sanju Samson wins the toss and in his rush to claim batting rights first, forgets to shake hands with Kane Williamson. However, both captains remember well that their squad changed. For RR, Evin Lewis, Chris Morris and Jaydev Unadkat replace David Miller, Tabraiz Shamsi and Kartik Tyagi, who is injured. Williamson has more changes to remember but he does it perfectly: Jason Roy, Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg, Siddarth Kaul for David Warner, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav and Khaleel Ahmed.
SRH still has an outside chance of qualifying for the playoffs despite only winning one in nine games, but RR are more realistic contenders with eight points from nine games. They really need a win to get back on track.
Royals of Rajasthan 1 E Lewis, 2 YBK Jaiswal, 3 SV Samson (capt. & Week), 4 MK Lomror, 5 LS Livingstone, 6 R Parag, 7 R Tewatia, 8 CH Morris, 9 JD Unadkat, 10 C Sakariya, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Hyderabad Sunrises 1 JJ Roy, 2 WP Saha (week), 3 PK Garg, 4 KS Williamson (capt.), 5 Abhishek Sharma, 6 JO Holder, 7 Abdul Samad, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 B Kumar, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 S Kaul
Sidharth Monga is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo