IPL 2019: English exodus in focus as Rajasthan Royals takes on Sunrisers Hyderabad

Rajasthan Royals has stepped up its performances in the last two outings and will be keen to notch another win under its belt to brighten its chances of a Playoff place in IPL 2019.

Playoff-bound: Chances of qualification for play-offs are in the hands of SRH.   -  ROHIT JAIN PARAS

On Thursday night at the Eden Gardens, Varun Aaron was the star with the ball and Riyan Parag with the bat for Rajasthan Royals. Neither was in the scheme of things for the Royals in the early stages of this IPL.

Their match-winning performances – the two have so far played just six matches between them -- could not have come at a better time for Steve Smith’s men, who have to rebuild the side following Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes’ return to England. They now take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Saturday.

READ | Riyan Parag dazzles in Rajasthan's win

Only two points separate the two teams. A win could brighten the outside chances of a Playoff for the home side, placed second from the bottom.

For that, the Royals need to find a way to overcome the absence of Archer, one of the key men in its campaign. He spearheaded the bowling with aplomb and is more than a handy bat down the order, as he showed against Kolkata Knight Riders the other night.

The pace of Aaron and Oshane Thomas could make up for Archer’s absence to a certain extent. The leg-spin of Shreyas Gopal could play a crucial role yet again.

Riyan Parag

Seventeen-year-old Parag has impressed for Royals in his debut season.   -  PTI

 

The batsmen have responded rather well to the early departure of the explosive opener Jos Buttler. Ajinkya Rahane, Smith, Sanju Samson and Parag have all found form.

It would be interesting to see how Sunrisers copes with the splitting up of one of the best opening partnerships of the tournament. David Warner and Jonny Bairstow have added 791 runs from 10 innings and had three successive century stands between them.

WATCH | RR vs SRH - VIDEO PREVIEW

SRH has to find a replacement for Bairstow, who has gone back to England, at the top of the order and someone to keep wicket as well.

The visitor will, of course, be looking mainly to Warner for the runs. The dynamic Aussie holds the orange cap with 574 runs (average 71.75, strike rate 146.05). Manish Pandey has finally regained his touch, too.

As for its bowling, SRH has one of the better attacks in the competition featuring the likes of Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed and Sandeep Sharma.

It ought to be an intriguing contest.