Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals desperately need two points on Thursday to stay in the hunt for playoffs.
The results in the last few days in IPL 2020 has made it clear that the race for the fourth spot in the league table is going down to the wire. Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) are candidates for this position, but both need a victory on October 22 when they come up against each other at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
RR comes in this game on the back of a comfortable victory against Chennai Super Kings. It was a complete performance from bat and bowl against CSK. Steve Smith would like his men to continue this ruthlessness if they want to finish fourth in the league table.
Meanwhile, SRH is at six points, so nothing but a win on Thursday will likely end the campaign for them. The Hyderabad franchise last played on the weekend against Kolkata Knight Riders. It was an enthralling contest, but SRH stumbled upon defeat in the super over.
RR heavily relies on three overseas batsmen. Ben Stokes is yet to get a big score in this tournament, but he has shown glimpses of his best. Jos Butler and Steve Smith have been inconsistent throughout the tournament, but both batsmen have found the rhythm in their last two games. RR will be hoping that Sanju Samson also returns to form as the batting quartet will have to play out of their skin to win the remaining games.
It has been a stop-start campaign for SRH batsmen. David Warner and Jonny Bairstow have been inconsistent at the top, exposing the young middle order on most of the occasions. Kan Williamson has played some handy knocks in the past few games, but he will need more support from other batsmen to mount a comeback in the final stage of the season.
In the bowling department for SRH, T. Natarajan has been the most impressive pace bowler. He has the knack of bowling accurate yorkers throughout the innings. Rashid Khan has also blown hot and cold this year. Injuries have not helped SRH’s cause, but they still have enough talent to restrict teams to smaller totals.
Jofra Archer has been the standout bowler for RR. The English pace bowler has been taking wickets consistently throughout the IPL 2020. Kartik Tyagi has also been impressive for RR in the limited games he has played this season, but performances from other bowlers have been underwhelming.
With fourth place in the table on the line, the contest between RR and SRH has all the ingredients to be a cracker. If SRH fails to win on Thursday, then it would be a close door situation for them in the tournament. Meanwhile, RR can move to the fourth position with a convincing victory against SRH.
By Kiran Thakare