There was little to celebrate for either Sunrisers Hyderabad or Rajasthan Royals in the IPL last season as they finished last and second-last respectively. But both sides had the opportunity to rebuild their rosters in the IPL mega-auction and will be hoping that they have found a winning combination. Who will make a winning start to the 2022 edition? Read on for our full Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals preview and prediction:
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals Preview and Prediction
2021 IPL Campaign
Sunrisers Hyderabad started their 2021 IPL campaign with three straight losses – against Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians – which rather set the tone for the rest of their campaign. They managed to win just three of their 14 group stage matches and failed to record back-to-back victories. The result was that they finished in a distant last place, though they could take some small comfort in having at least been competitive in most of their matches.
Rajasthan Royals did not struggle quite as badly as Sunrisers, but it was nonetheless a tournament to forget for the 2008 champions. Their star players failed to consistently deliver and they found themselves on the wrong end of more than one thrashing, finishing the tournament with just five wins and the worst net-run rate in the IPL by a distance. The nadir came in their last matches as they managed just 90 from 20 overs against Mumbai before being bowled out for 85 by KKR.
Rahul Tripathi and Abhishek Sharma will open the batting for Sunrisers. Kane Williamson will bat at three if fit. This match may come too soon for the captain in which case Priyam Garg may play in his place. Nicholas Pooran will bat at four, with Aiden Markram at five and Glenn Phillips at six. Washington Sundar is the likeliest option at seven, with Marco Jansen the last recognised batter at eight. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan and Umran Malik will complete the Hyderabad XI.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler is the likeliest opening combination for the Royals, though Devdutt Padikkal and Sanju Samson (who will otherwise bat at three and four) are also options. Shimron Hetmyer offers real power from number five. Riyan Parag will likely bat at six, with James Neesham likely to edge out Nathan Coulter-Nile as a finisher. R Ashwin will have a vital role to play in a strong attack also featuring Yuzvendra Chahal, Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna.
This is a tough match to call. But, on paper, the Rajasthan Royals look to have done a better job of rebuilding, at least in the short term. They have the deeper batting line-up and the better bowling attack, particularly as there remains uncertainty over the fitness of several of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s key bowlers, including Bhuvneshwar, Natarajan and Sundar. Expect Rajasthan Royals to be the side to make a winning start to IPL 2022 as a result.
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