Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 17 April 2014 - 10:23pm IST
Preview: Match 4 – SRH v RR
Royals set to begin Watson era against Dhawan’s Sunrisers
The fourth match of the season will see the Sunrisers Hyderabad open their Pepsi IPL 2014 campaign against the Rajasthan Royals.
Unlike several of the other teams in the IPL, SRH and RR do not boast too many glamorous players, yet can surprise with their above-the-weight punches. Both teams finished among the top four teams last season and will be hoping to go the distance this time round.
Friday, April 18, 2014, 8 pm IST
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Shikhar Dhawan was the team’s top run-getter in the previous season and he will be expected to do the same yet again. It will be interesting to see how the left-hand batsman copes with the added responsibility of captaincy. Dhawan will possibly look to bat deep into the second half of the innings allowing the likes of David Warner and Aaron Finch to play their natural game. The one other player in the SRH line-up who can leave a telling mark on the match is Dale Steyn. The South African is the model fast bowler – fit as a fiddle, possessing a clean action, accurate to the dot, very aggression and stingy when it comes to conceding runs.
Among the others, keep an eye on how the spin twins, Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma, operate; the two leg-spinners were hugely impressive on the slow and low tracks in Hyderabad last season and were top-line performers in SRH’s run to the Playoffs. With conditions not quite similar – although the pitches have offered a certain degree of turn – it will be interesting to see if they can work their magic yet again.
In the RR line-up, look no further than their skipper Shane Watson. The Australian is the most experienced player in the RR squad and he will be keen to stamp his authority on the team quickly. Among others, who will need to deliver the goods for RR, are the quick-learning and fast-maturing James Faulkner and Ajinkya Rahane.
SRH and RR shared honours in the two fixtures between them in the regular season in IPL 2013. Thereafter, the two teams met yet again in the first of the Pepsi IPL 2013 Playoff matches, where the Rahul Dravid-led Royals prevailed in their chase of 133.
The Rajasthan Royals have the largest register of players for Pepsi IPL 2014 with 25 players, yet they were left with the highest amount of unspent money (INR 5.55 Crores) at the end of the 2014 Pepsi IPL Player Auction.
Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals both head to Sharjah for their next fixtures. RR’s next outing is against Kings XI Punjab on April 20, while SRH clash with the Delhi Daredevils on April 22.