Ben Stokes was back on a cricket ground after a while and surely that is the best piece of news coming out of the Rajasthan Royals camp.
Steve Smith’s men desperately need the services of the world’s best all-rounder as they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Sunday. Having lost four games in a row – the latest being on Friday against Delhi Capitals – they cannot afford to waste any more time to get their act together. The IPL is entering the second half of the league stage.
With just two wins – both coming at Sharjah at the beginning of the tournament – from six matches, Royals is precariously placed, though it is a bit too early to speak of the playoffs. It is now placed second from the bottom, ahead of Kings XI Punjab.
Sunrisers, on the other hand, is in the upper half of the table with three wins, also from six games. David Warner’s men are going into this match with a more confident frame of mind. It registered a comprehensive 69-run win, against Punjab, in its last game. Warner and his opening partner Jonny Bairstow had set up that victory, with a 160-run stand. Leg-spinner Rashid Khan played a starring role with a brilliant show among the bowlers. Moreover, with Dubai being the venue, it also augurs well for Hyderabad.
Royals needs Smith, Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson to come up with big innings. Jofra Archer would not mind some support from his teammates in the bowling department.
Steve Smith (Captain), Jos Buttler (Wicketkeeper), Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Robin Uthappa, David Miller, Ankit Rajpoot, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Mayank Markande, Shreyas Gopal, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh, Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye, Rahul Tewatia, Shashank Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anirudha Joshi, Tom Curran and Anuj Rawat.
David Warner (Captain), Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Shreevats Goswami, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha, Abdul Samad, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, B Sandeep, Sanjay Yadav, Fabian Allen, Prithvi Raj Yarra, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Siddharth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan and Basil Thampi.
Match 26: Rajasthan Royals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Venue: Dubai International Stadium
Date: October 11, Sunday
Time: 7:30 p.m