Jaipur: Both Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad will begin life without their key overseas players when they face-off in the Indian Premier League here on Saturday. At this stage, Royals are more affected than Sunrisers with the absence of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Joffra Archer, who have left for England to join the World Cup camp. Sunrisers will surely miss the services of their destructive opener and Englishman Jonny Bairstow, who formed the most potent opening pairing alongside David Warner.
Things will get tougher for both teams after the departure of Australians — Warner and Royals skipper Steve Smith — next week. Sunrisers are placed better than Royals on the points table, having won five out of their 10 games. Royals have only won four of their 11 games but they too remain in the hunt for a play-off spot. All-rounder Archer propelled Royals to a thrilling victory over KKR on Thursday night and his presence too will be felt very much.
The departure of three Englishmen could cost Royals dear but the form of Ajinkya Rahane and Smith is a positive sign. The real find for Royals has been 17-year-old boy from Assam, Riyan Parag, who has shown remarkable skill with bat and ball, demonstrating tremendous temperament. He made 47 off 31 against KKR and put back Rajasthan Royals on road to victory from a very tight situation. Sanju Samson is also in good nick and Rahul Tripathi too has clicked with a fifty in the opening slot. The likes of Ashton Turner and Liam Livingstone have not been up to the mark and will have to raise their game.
The bowling will be a bigger worry for the hosts because Archer was the most effective bowler for them in death overs. However, Varun Aaron was very impressive against KKR with 2 for 20 and the ‘Man of the match’ award would also boost his confidence. Oshane Thomas too had a decent outing with 1 for 32. The hosts would also look up to Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaidev Unadkat to tighten the screws on the opposition. Sunrisers too will deeply affected by the absence of overseas players but have been smart with their replacements. Warner, who would be playing his last match of the season on April 29, could be replaced by Martin Guptill. The Kiwi could partner his skipper Kane Williamson at the top of the order once Warner leaves.
IPL stars leaving after national call
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler (ENG), Ben Stokes (ENG), Jofra Archer (ENG), Steve Smith (AUS)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (AUS), Jonny Bairstow (ENG)
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Moeen Ali (ENG), Dale Steyn (SA)
Mumbai Indians: Alzarri Joseph (WI), Lasith Malinga (MI), Jason Behrendorff (AUS), Quinton de Kock (SA)
Chennai Super Kings: Imran Tahir (SA), Faf du Plessis (SA)
Kolkata Knight Riders: Andre Russell (WI), Carlos Braithwate (WI)
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle (WI)
Delhi Capitals: Kagiso Rabada (SA)
Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Liam Livingstone, Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag, Stuart Binny, Oshane Thomas, Jaydev Unadkat, Shreyas Gopal, Varun Aaron.
David Warner, Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Vijay Shankar, Shakib Al Hasan, Deepak Hooda / Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma.