Ajinkya Rahane

IPL 2018: SRH & RR looking for a steady start in their opening encounter

[caption id="attachment_65183" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Rahane Williamson Sunrisers Hyderabad will face Rajasthan Royals in their first encounter tomorrow. Image Source: twitter[/caption]

XtraTime Web Desk: Coincidentally both Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals have lost their respective captains David Warner and Steve Smith after Cricket Australia banned both of them for 12 months due to ball tampering incident during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. With two new captains Kane Williamson and Ajinkya Rahane both the teams will look for a positive start when the two sides face each other tomorrow.

Inaugural IPL champions, Rajasthan Royals are back in the tournament after a two-year ban and on the other hand Sunrisers have lost their former skipper David Warner as the BCCI has banned him from taking part in the cash rich league after his role in ball-tampering scandal on Proteas soil.

Ajinkya Rahane will lead Rajasthan Royals in the absence of Steve Smith where as Kiwi captain Kane Williamson will lead the SRH in place of Warner.

Warner and Smith are irreplaceable in most teams but both Royals and Sunrisers still look well-balanced sides on paper.

While Sunrisers were able to retain a chunk of their players at the auction, traditionally frugal Royals spent big bucks on the likes of Ben Stokes (Rs 12.5 crore) and Jaydev Unadkat (Rs 11.5 crore) who ended up as season's costliest buys.

They went big even after uncapped players like Sussex all-rounder Jofra Archer (Rs 7.2 crore) and Karnataka offie K Gowtham (Rs 6.2 crore).

They also have BBL star batsman D'Arcy Short and Smith's replacement Heinrich Klaasen of South Africa. The management has splurged this time and all they would be hoping is for a decent return on investment.

Shane Warne is back as head coach and the team would be hoping for another fairy tale run under the Australian, who led them to title in the inaugural edition in 2008.

For the 2016 champions, Warner's absence has left a huge void at the top of the order though Alex Hales is capable of doing the opening job alonside Shikhar Dhawan.

They have brought in Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan to boost the middle order while their bowling line-up is one of the strongest this season.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma will do the bulk of work in pace department while Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan and Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan form a potent spin duo.

Sunrisers head coach Tom Moody has recently said here that the change in captaincy in a short notice had little impact on the team.

Though Williamson is not new to captaincy, he would be expected to quickly deliver the goods in the leadership role.

Middle order batting was a concern for the the team in the previous editions and the team mentor VVS Laxman has expressed confidence that the players, including Pandey, Pathan and Hooda, would address the issue.

The teams (from): 

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (C ), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Tanmay Agarwal, Alex Hales, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi, Chris Jordan and Billy Stanlake.

Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (C ), Ankit Sharma, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jofra Archer, D'Arcy Short, Dushmantha Chameera, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, S Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin, Prashant Chopra, Krishnappa Gowtham, Mahipal Lomror, Jatin Saxena, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Birla, Jos Buttler, Heinrich Klaasen, Zahir Khan and Rahul Tripathi.

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