Hyderabad: Sunday afternoon’s clash will see two former champions Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals face-off at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. With equal firepower in both batting and bowling, stage is set for a high-octane clash between two teams that look strong on paper.
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar leading the side for his team’s opening game in IPL 2023 as Aiden Markram is on international duty, he felt the bowling attack has a lot of experience in them, including tearaway pacer Umran Malik, whose stocks have risen since bursting through in 2021 edition of the tournament.
He also picked 22 wickets from 14 matches at an average of 20.18 and economy rate of 9.03, claiming one four-wicket haul and a five-wicket haul respectively in IPL 2022, while playing an instrumental role in picking wickets for his franchise in the middle overs phase. He was also named as the emerging player of the season at the end of the competition.
“The bowling unit is very experienced now. Umran is the youngest (bowler in the team), but he is also experienced and has played for the country. He did well in the last season as well. It is a matter of going out there and doing well,” he said in the pre-match press conference.
Apart from Bhuvneshwar and Malik, Hyderabad also have services of leg-spinner Adil Rashid, pacers Kartik Tyagi and T. Natarajan, apart from all-rounders Washington Sundar, Abdul Samad and Abhishek Sharma.
Bhuvneshwar also thinks the middle-order, despite the absence of Markram and Heinrich Klaasen, has a settled look. Harry Brook, the exciting England batter and New Zealand’s maverick batter Glenn Phillips give the much-needed batting muscle to Hyderabad.
“It is a new season and a different challenge as we got new domestic and international players and playing after a long gap at the home ground is exciting,” he added.
On the other hand, Rajasthan have great firepower in their batting, starting from opener Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal, followed by Devdutt Padikkal, captain Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer. With the ball, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin reunite as spin twins along with fast bowlers Trent Boult, Navdeep Saini, Obed McCoy and Sandeep Sharma.
With impact player being used in matches till now in IPL 2023, Kumar Sangakkara, Director of Cricket and head coach of Rajasthan, who finished runners-up last year, thinks the new rules are still under wait and watch territory for him.
“It is about really settling around to play a good game. Let’s see how it goes. We discussed the rule and we get that right hopefully. But, as the league goes on, the sides will get more and more used to how well to use it.”