Rajasthan Royals hope to regain fortress
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From the time the Rajasthan Royals visited Amer Fort as a unit, prior to the inaugural IPL season; the Sawai Mansingh Stadium has been their fortress. And they've guarded it with extreme determination. This year too, Rahul Dravid & Co have kept up their impressive home-record intact with three out of three wins here. And after two heart-breaking losses on their southern sojourn, Rajasthan will be desperate to return home and start winning again, starting with their return home game against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
For starters, both teams will want to shrug off the CSK hangover. Neither deserved to lose against the two-time champions but were let down by their death bowling. It might also be time for the Sunrisers' original captain Kumar Sangakkara to come back in place of replacement Cameron White, who's averaged 15.37 with a strike-rate of 96.85.
He might not have gotten the opportunity to show off his trademark moustache twirl on Thursday, especially after being hit in the nether regions. But Shikhar Dhawan did make a sensational, and much-awaited, return to IPL action for his new franchise, scoring 63 in 45 balls with 10 fours. While he enjoyed the ball coming onto the bat against the likes of Jason Holder and Mohit Sharma, Rajasthan's canny operators in the middle overs will prove a handy challenge. And the likes of Kevon Cooper and Siddharth Trivedi will be tough to negotiate with their clever changes of pace and variations, not to forget the miserly off-spinner Ajit Chandila.
Wrist the initiative
His dropped catch might have cost Hyderabad the last match, but Amit Mishra still remains the first name to be penned into the Sunrisers' line-up. Not only is he joint-highest in the wicket-takers' list with Dwanye Bravo and Sunil Narine, the leg-spinner has also been his team's talisman with the ball so far, returning rich hauls in each outing. Over the last few games, he's also found a great ally in fellow wrist-spinner, Karn Sharma. The Railways all-rounder in fact has been the find of the Sunrisers' campaign, so far having taken four wickets and conceded runs at a staggering economy rate of 4.41. And it might well be time for the Royals to unleash their own 42-year-old wristy magician, especially with Shane Watson having started to bowl again. And Brad Hogg, who took 10 wickets in nine games last season, is sure to be itching to get a go.