Two teams which were handed huge blows right before the start of the eleventh season of the Indian Premier League, Rajasthan Royals and the Sunrisers Hyderabad will look to nullify the absence of their former captains with the new ones looking also set to lead the charge. The Rajeev Gandhi Stadium, home to Sunrisers Hyderabad will host the Royals in the game 4 of the IPL 2018. David Warner and Steve Smith were both banned from taking part in the IPL after their involvement in the ball tampering scandal which rocked Australian cricket. Well, the effect of the bans was not just limited to Australia with the IPL also taking a hit. However, two of the most reliable leaders of the team who have been spectacularly consistent for their respective national teams, Ajinkya Rahane and Kane Williamson will be weighing up their chances in their very first assignment as captains.
With two top Australian coaches at the helm of affairs, both Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad have left no stones unturned in ensuring that the players don’t feel the transition of going from one captain to another. Smith and Warner are near irreplaceable in any team but Shane Warne and Tom Moody know how to get the best out of the lot available to them. Warne did it in the inaugural season of the competition when he led an average but passionate side to a title triumph. His mentoring skills will be put to test this season without the charismatic Steve Smith. On the other hand, in Tom Moody, the Hyderabad outfit have a coach who knows the IPL adeptly and possesses the extraordinary ability to use bowlers as potent weapons in a format which is ruled by the batsmen. The Aussie coach utilising Warner as his destructive leader with the bat won the IPL with bowlers as his force.
This time around too the Sunrisers Hyderabad have a brilliant bowling pack which will be spearheaded by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan. Both of them in their respective departments have been lethal over the years for the Sunrisers and would look to continue their fine form in the IPL. The likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Deepak Hooda, Alex Hales and Yusuf Pathan would make up a formidable batting line-up for the Sunrisers which will be led by Williamson. Rajasthan Royals too have brought in a solid replacement for their banned skipper in South African, Henrich Klaassen and would expect the likes of Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, and Ajinkya Rahane to fire throughout the season. Jofra Archer along with Indian Pacers Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat will lead the pace line for the Royals, their marquee all-rounder Ben Stokes would be the man, the team would want to step up and deliver.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: In David Warner’s absence Kane Williamson will be under humongous pressure to lead his side both with the bat and on the field. Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey were both largely successful for KKR during their illustrious stint with the two-time champions and will reunite this time around for the Sunrisers aiming to continue their good run in the competition. In the bowling department, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will hold the duties of the pace attack and will have the responsibility of getting the best out of the talented Indian pacers, SRH have in their ranks. The likes of Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, and Basil Thampi will all look up to Bhuvneshwar for inspiration.
Rajasthan Royals: Being one of the most consistent players for the Royals before they were suspended and now returning as the captain of the side, Ajinkya Rahane will have to carry the pressure of leadership and batting, trying to make sure Smith’s absence is felt in none. Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat were brought in for massive amounts becoming the respective most expensive player and the most expensive Indian player of the tournament, they will have to stand up to the expectations and prove the worth for every penny paid for them.
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.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (C ), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Dhawal Kulkarni, Rahul Tripathi, Jofra Archer, D’Arcy Short, Stuart Binny, Jaydev Unadkat, Krishnappa Gowtham, Anureet Singh
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (C ), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma