The first game of Sunday's IPL 2021 double header will see the tournament's two bottom-placed teams meet. Both Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will look for a shot in the arm to carry them for the rest of the season.
SRH have made a couple of desperate changes to get their caravan moving. The first is replacing David Warner at the helm with Kane Williamson and the second being a possible overhaul of their overseas combination.
RR, on the contrary, don't have the luxury to do either. While their overseas resources are stretched to the hilt, there doesn't seem to be a hands-down replacement for the fairly new leader Sanju Samson.
Both teams possess redoubtable top-orders but misfiring Indian batsmen and bowling attacks that lack the required aggression. The winner here will fancy a punching chance in the IPL 2021 league stage while the loser might stumble to a point of no return.
IPL 2021, RR vs SRH: 3 bowlers to watch out for
As MS Dhoni said at the toss against Mumbai Indians on Saturday, the Delhi wicket has played 'surprisingly good'. Although some low bounce has been evident, the pitches have sported even grass, giving value to the batsmen's shots.
The last match here had a 56-m boundary on one side and it elicited a last-ball chase of 219 runs. Both teams bowled just 4 overs of spin each, which resulted in 2 wickets at a cost of 62 runs. If the pattern is to be believed, pacers could dominate the wickets column in this game as well.
On this note, let's look at three bowlers who may lead their team to victory in this IPL fixture:
#3 Chetan Sakariya
Chetan Sakariya has been one of the finds of IPL 2021 so far. From 6 games, the young left-arm pacer has picked 7 wickets at an average of 26.73.
In the last game RR played in Delhi, Mumbai Indians batsmen found it difficult to score runs against Chetan Sakariya and he went for just 18 runs in his first 3 overs. Samson arguably missed a trick by not bowling his last over ahead of Chris Morris, who conceded 16 runs in the 18th over and lost the game for his team.
Chetan Sakriya has shown dexterity to bowl in both the powerplay and death overs. He could be an asset against Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson, who haven't seen much of him. Moreover, he can also take advantage of SRH's thin middle-order to get amongst the wickets.
#2 Rashid Khan
This match could be the perfect opportunity for Rashid Khan to win a game single-handedly for his team. The leg-spinner waged a lone war in SRH's last game, picking 3 wickets for 36 runs. However, he couldn't get his team over the line.
RR's top order of Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson have all struggled against leg-spinners this season and there's no one better than Rashid Khan to exploit such a weakness. Rashid Khan enjoys a particularly brilliant record against Buttler, having dismissed him thrice in just 14 balls.
Although he has the ability to win games single-handedly, Rashid Khan lacks support from the other end. If SRH bring Jason Holder or Mujeeb Ur Rahman in place of David Warner, they can ease the pressure off the leg-spinner, allowing him to be more aggressive.
His tally of 9 wickets from 6 games so far in IPL 2021 could be up for a major increment on Sunday.
#1 Chris Morris
Believe it or not, Chris Morris has hitherto picked up more wickets in IPL 2021 than Rashid Khan. The most expensive purchase at this year's IPL auction, Morris has 11 wickets from 6 games in the season at a substantial average of 17.73.
Chris Morris has been Samson's go-to bowler in the middle-overs and at the death and that state of affairs is likely to continue against SRH.
He picked 2 crucial wickets against MI in RR's last IPL 2021 game as well, but as mentioned above, lost the plot in the death overs against Kieron Pollard. The all-rounder will be raring to make amends on Sunday.
If RR's bowlers led by Sakariya and Unadkat can rattle SRH's top-order, Morris can once again run havoc against the likes of Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar. Moreover, if he gets going, Morris can clean up the tail in a jiffy as he did against the Kolkata Knight Riders to record the IPL 2021 season's 4th best figures of 4-23.