Hyderabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals were close to winning their opening matches but were done in by individual acts of brilliance and darkness — courtesy Andre Russell (of Kolkata Knight Riders) and Ravichandran Ashwin (Kings XI Punjab) respectively. Pointless at the bottom now though, they would be keen to sharpen up and open their account on Friday night.
The Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for the hosts who have been boosted by the return (following a one-year ban for ball-tampering) of explosive opening batsman David Warner, who slammed a whirlwind 85 to propel the Sunrisers in the game against the Knights.
Jonny Bairstow and Vijay Shankar too made decent contributions with the bat.
With impressive willow wielders in captain Kane Williamson, Yusuf Pathan, Manish Pandey and Shakib Al Hasan in the line-up, the Orange outfit look solid when it comes to putting runs on the board.
However, their bowling was found wanting in the previous match, where they lost grip on the game in the last three overs and allowed Russell to get on top of them.
Otherwise, seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddharth Kaul can be a handful for batsmen. Add spinners Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan and you have a balanced bowling unit that the Royals would need to get around.
With the likes of Jos Buttler (who was going great guns in the game against KXIP until he was ‘Mankaded’ by Ashwin), Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson they would fancy their chances on Friday though.
On the bowling front, pacers Dhawal Kulkarni and Jofra Archer, spinner K. Gowtham did well in the last match but much would be expected of Jaydev Unadkat and Stokes who proved costly.