Having hit a roadblock of sorts after wins from their first two encounters, the struggling Rajasthan Royals face off against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 26th match of IPL 2020 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The Royals looked invincible after picking up wins from their first two matches, but since then, they've failed to register a single victory in the four games they've played.
Steve Smith (38 runs) and Sanju Samson's (17 runs) returns from the last four matches have further compounded RR's woes, with the other batsmen - barring one half-century from Jos Buttler - flattering to deceive.
RR's woeful form has made their opening two victories seem merely like a flash in the pan, and against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, they will need to bring their A-game onto the field.
As for SRH, the form of the openers will be a heartening sign, a template that has served them well in the recent past. Rashid Khan's guile with the ball will undoubtedly be yet another feature in this encounter, but how SRH deal with the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar against the top-heavy RR unit will be a huge talking point.
The Sunrisers have endured a mixed bag of results in the competition so far with three wins and an equal number of losses from their six games, and with a position in the top four up for grabs, expect SRH to put their best foot forward today.
IPL 2020: SRH v RR Match Prediction
Momentum is an important factor in the IPL, and SRH will be coming into this clash on the back of a morale-boosting 69-run win against the Kings XI Punjab.
The Royals, on the other hand, are winless from their last four matches, and that they're yet to nail down on an ideal playing XI will be a huge concern for the inaugural IPL champions.
However, they will receive a huge shot in the arm with the impending return of Ben Stokes, who is a proven match-winner and can contribute in all departments. Yet, there's a chance that RR might not want to rush Stokes into bowling quite a bit, and that could yet again expose the fragilities in the bowling unit.
SRH, on the other hand, will be pumped with the way the openers pummeled the KXIP bowling in their previous game. Jonny Bairstow was at his aggressive best during his 55-ball 97-run knock, while David Warner played second fiddle with a patient half-century.
There's no doubt that Jofra Archer will hold the key to making early inroads into the SRH batting unit. Still, with some quality in the middle order courtesy of Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey, RR might need to bank on their spinners to do the job.
As for RR's batting unit, the constant shuffling in the order has not worked, and with young Jaiswal unable to find his feet in the previous game, Smith might yet again be tempted to ring in some changes.
And, with Rashid the only real threat in the SRH bowling unit, RR might well be advised to play out the Afghan star. However, T Natarajan's skill with his yorkers could prove to be a decisive factor for SRH, one that could turn the tide in his side's favour.
In terms of an overall picture, SRH look in good shape ahead of this encounter, while RR will need to pull out all the stops to arrest their losing streak.
Prediction: SRH to win today.Published 11 Oct 2020, 11:47 IST