Royals hold edge against Hyderabad


The fortress has not yet been captured. Guarding it are the Royals of Rajasthan, subduing every opponent who has stepped into the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here.

But the cavalry looks weary after consecutive defeats in their away campaigns against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings. Those matches have pushed Rajasthan Royals on the back foot, but they are back to where they are unbeaten – home.

And after a four- day gap, Rajasthan fans can only expect their favourite blue brigade to shine against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday. Their loss against Chennai was disappointing, as they failed to defend a total of 185, but it had one bright spot – Shane Watson.

The Aussie finally got his touch with a brilliant century.

Add to it the other in- form opener Ajinkya Rahane with the ever reliable Rahul Dravid at No. 3, and the Rajasthan top order looks awesome. Stuart Binny and Brad Hodge are capable of firing in the middle order. And they would have to remain so as their opponents’ bowling unit features World’s No. 1 bowler Dale Steyn, the tricky Amit Mishra and the talented Ishant Sharma.

Watson is looking forward to his duel with the South African speedster. “The ultimate challenge for an opening batsman is facing Dale Steyn with a brand new ball. He certainly is the world’s best fast bowler and there is no doubt that when he finishes he will go down in history as one of the greatest fast bowlers to have played the game. I am ready to face the best bowler,” the Aussie said.

The Hyderabad outfit comes to the Pink City after a heart-wrenching loss to Chennai, which saw them remain in third spot after eight matches.

Sunrisers have relied heavily on their bowlers to make a match out of low totals. They have been successful in doing so on more than one occasion but one bad day in the office for the bowlers and things have gone haywire.

The Sunrisers batsmen have hardly won them a match in a commanding fashion out of the eight so far. They can, however, draw solace from the fact that Shikhar Dhawan is back from injury and gave a glimpse of his prowess in his first match itself.

Doubt, however, remains on his availability for Saturday’s match as he had a groin injury while batting against Chennai. For the most part, SunRisers have been dependant on their middle order to score the runs.

Hanuma Vihari has been a revelation and Thisara Perera will be back against the Royals, which will only add to their strength. Stand- in captain Cameron White also adds solidity and has rescued the team on a couple of occasions.

They all will have to tread carefully against Australian left- arm pacer James Faulkner, who is currently Rajasthan’s top wickettaker and in good form. He is ably assisted by local lads Siddharth Trivedi and Ajit Chandila.

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