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Hyderabad aim to make it two in two as they lock horns with Rajasthan

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After a thumping 69-run win over Punjab on Thursday, David Warner’s Hyderabad are now scheduled to lock horns with Steve Smith’s Rajasthan in the first game of Sunday, October 11, at the Dubai International Stadium.

The two teams have endured a difficult season so far and are only separated by two points after six games. For Rajasthan though, a run of four games without a win is expected to provide a much-needed boost to Hyderabad. As far as their head-to-head record goes, the two teams are evenly poised, with Hyderabad clinching six wins and Rajasthan coming out on top in five of their 11 encounters.

History, however, favours Warner’s men, as Hyderabad have won four of their last five meetings. Having said that, here are some key points from the upcoming game that need special attention.

Rajasthan’s over-reliance on Archer

Despite Friday’s defeat against Delhi, Rajasthan’s Jofra Archer had reason to rejoice as he ended his day with a figure of three for 24. In six games so far, the England pacer has accumulated eight wickets at an economy of 6.91, the best return by a fast bowler in the ongoing edition of the Indian T20 League. A further astounding fact is that all the pacers Rajasthan have in their ranks (apart from Archer) have picked a mere nine wickets, one more than Archer’s tally.

Player

Overs

Runs

Wickets

Average

Economy

SR

Jofra Archer

24

166

8

20.75

6.91

18

All Rajasthan fast bowlers

55.1

593

9

65.89

11.02

36.78

But when Rajasthan face Hyderabad on Sunday, Smith will be hoping Archer continues his form against Warner like he did when England met Australia for a limited-overs series before the Indian T20 League. The Australian southpaw had a lowly average of 6.25 against Archer in the white ball series and was dismissed on four different occasions.

Archer vs Warner

 

Runs

 

Balls

 

Dismissals

 

Dots

 

SR

 

Average

ODI and T20

series September

 

25

 

33

 

4

 

20

 

75.75

 

6.25

Bairstow’s form against leg-spin a real concern

Jonny Bairstow was at his brilliant best against Punjab on Thursday, missing out on a century by just three runs. The leading run-scorer for Hyderabad in the ongoing edition, Bairstow will be up against the spinning contingent of Rahul Tewatia and Shreyas Gopal, against whom he has struggled in the past.

He, in fact, he has been dismissed seven times by leg-spinners in the Indian T20 League. Against Tewatia, the England opener has faced just three balls and been dismissed once. Gopal, on the other hand, has leaked 17 runs against Bairstow in 13 balls, but he too has gotten his wicket once.

Bowlers

Runs

Balls

Dismissed

SR

R Tewatia

1

3

1

33.3

S Gopal

17

13

1

130.8

Players to watch:

Hyderabad - Rashid Khan

As one can expect, Rashid Khan has been a revelation in the ongoing edition of the Indian T20 League, picking eight wickets in six games at a mindboggling economy of 4.83 (third-best in the league so far). That, coupled with his form against Rajasthan batsmen, further makes him a potential danger.

The Afghan leggie has been a nightmare for Rajasthan captain Steve Smith, having conceded just 16 runs in 22 deliveries while dismissing him once. Rashid against Buttler is an even bigger threat, having gotten the better of the Englishman on three occasions in as many innings while conceding three runs from eight balls. 

Rajasthan - Sanju Samson

Sanju Samson hit 16 sixes in his opening two games of the league, but since that win over Punjab, the 25-year-old has accumulated a mere 17 runs in five innings. He has, in fact, failed to reach double figures in the last four matches. A further breakdown reveals that the former Delhi batsman has batted with a lowly average of 4.25 in the last four games.

One good thing above all the negatives is his form against Hyderabad in the Indian T20 League. Last season, the 25-year-old scored an unbeaten century against them in a losing cause, and then went on to accumulate a quick-fire 32-ball 48 as Rajasthan defeated Hyderabad in the return fixture. Playing his 100th Indian T20 League game on Sunday, Rajasthan will want him to continue thrashing the Hyderabad bowlers.

Stats to watch out for:

3: Sandeep Sharma needs 3 more wickets to complete 100 Indian T20 League wickets.

9: Manish Pandey needs 9 runs to complete 3000 runs in the Indian T20 League.

11: Runs Buttler needs to reach 1000 runs for Rajasthan.

48: Runs Buttler has scored vs SRH in the Indian T20 League at an average of 8, his lowest against any opponent in the Indian T20 League.

100: Samson will play his 100th Indian T20 League match.

Writer's pick:

Rajasthan have shown lack of intent in their last four overs, and just like Hyderabad, their middle-order has crumbled way too easily. Apart from the Tewatia-Archer show, none of their other batsmen have managed to hit big. On the other hand, their bowling charge, led by Jofra Archer, has delivered quite prominently. Hyderabad, on their part, sees a rise in form of their explosive openers, and while the middle order remains a worry, Rashid Khan's impeccable form gives the team a huge boost. Expect the 2016 league winners to win the contest on Sunday.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Money Sharma

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