JAIPUR, April 26: 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.
Match starts 8 PM. – PTI