Rajasthan Royals will face Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers Hyderabad in their seventh game of IPL 2018 on Sunday.(PTI)
Rajasthan Royals will face Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers Hyderabad in their seventh game of IPL 2018 on Sunday.(PTI)

IPL 2018: Rajasthan Royals braced for Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling challenge

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) were outstanding with the ball in their last two Indian Premier League (IPL) games and will pose a big challenge to hosts Rajasthan Royals (RR), who beat Mumbai Indians (MI) in their last game.
By Siddharth Vishwanathan | Hindustan Times, Jaipur
UPDATED ON APR 28, 2018 09:10 PM IST

At the start of the 2018 Indian Premier League, teams fancied chasing totals. However, Sunrisers Hyderabad has changed that perspective in the last two games, putting up stellar performances with the ball. By successfully defending 118 and 132 against Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab respectively, Kane Williamson’s side is high on confidence. (IPL 2018 FULL COVERAGE)

However, Rajasthan Royals too are on a high. Following their morale-boosting win over Mumbai Indians that snapped a two-game losing streak, Ajinkya Rahane’s side took a break for a week with members visiting the Ranthambore national park and engaging in team-building exercises. With the team having gained momentum, Rajasthan Royals will be keen to avoid a slip-up.

No clarity on Bhuvneshwar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has not played the previous two games due to a back injury but such has been the depth of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling the team’s spearhead has not been missed. At the nets, Bhuvneshwar had a bowl but did not stretch himself.

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In the pre-match press conference, Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody said Bhuvneshwar was given time to recover. “He will be bowling today and we will assess his situation come tomorrow to see how he responds after having a good bowl today. We’ve intentionally given him time to fully recover and it’s been a blessing as it has created an opportunity for others to step up, which they’ve done very well,” the former Australian all-rounder said.

The depth in bowling, however, is not matched in batting. Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan have not been consistent at the top and it has required special efforts from Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Deepak Hooda to bail the team out. Sunrisers Hyderabad will be aiming to get their batting sorted.

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Rajasthan Royals seek momentum

Rajasthan Royals have closely watched the Sunrisers Hyderabad attack and the team is ready to tackle their key bowlers. This point was stressed by all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham, whose match-winning 11-ball 33 against Mumbai Indians gave RR a big boost in IPL 2018.

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“We have to look at the way the other teams played Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers, but we are ready for the contest,” Gowtham said.

Gowtham, along with fellow Karnataka teammate Shreyas Gopal, a leg-spinner, have been key for Rajasthan Royals but they will be seeking consistency from the pacers, who have underwhelmed barring Jofra Archer, who shone on debut with figures of 3/23.

In the last encounter between the two sides at Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals were thrashed by nine wickets. Time is ripe for Rahane to turn up the heat in Jaipur and inflict a reversal on the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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