Sunrisers Hyderabad are the only team in the crowded bottom half of the points table to still have a positive net run rate and that is something which David Warner’s team must preserve as they lock horns with Rajasthan Royals in a crucial encounter on Thursday.
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Jos Buttler’s virtuoso performance lifted the Royals against CSK as they won an important match and with the Englishman settling into the middle order well, RR now look a much better side.
Sanju Samson’s form remains the only big worry for the Royals but they also need Stokes and Uthappa to give them a strong start. Steve Smith seems to be getting back to groove and Jofra Archer’s form with the ball is also a positive.
With the Sunrisers depending heavily on their openers it will be interesting to see how Smith uses Archer in the match. His extra pace could unsettle the likes of Bairstow and Warner and that is the big match up to look out for.
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An injury to Kane Williamson meant Warner batted down the order in the chase against KKR and almost took the team through. This is an option that could be looked at given SRH’s lead middle order this season.
Rashid Khan will once again be the crucial cog in the SRH wheel when it comes to bowling. The Afghan talisman will have to pick wickets for his team in this match because the Royals have a battery of overseas stars in the middle order who can hurt SRH’s chances if they stay till the end.
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On paper the Royals look the favourites to win and continue their surge for a play-off spot, but ‘Men in Pink’ have flattered to deceive several times this season already.