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Close match in the offing

Close match  in the offing
Highlights

It is but natural that the atmosphere at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium would be surcharged here on Friday. More than the progress or...

It is but natural that the atmosphere at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium would be surcharged here on Friday. More than the progress or outcome, the match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals would be held under a cloud. The visiting team's dressing room will resemble a secluded place as they would be playing their first match since the arrest of three of its players for alleged spot-fixing.
Dhavan
In terms of competition, Rajasthan, with twenty already in the kitty, will be looking to gain the extra two points to make sure that they will get a qualifier berth in the play-off and would not have to play the Eliminator round, which could be pretty taxing. In contrast, Hyderabad needs to win the reminder of their two matches to make the play-off grade. As things stand, they have accumulated 16 points, which, is the same as that enjoyed by Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, Hyderabad can edge out Bangalore because they have played one match less. Two wins would push out the Challengers and give Sunrisers a dream debut. In terms of relative strengths, the host has the best possible bowling combination in Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Karan Sharma and the ever dangerous Darren Sammy. The batting depends heavily on Shikar Dhawan, although others have been performing in bits and pieces. Rajasthan has a formidable line up that could give Steyn and company a run for its money. Although, the batsmen came a cropper against Mumbai Indians, they have enough talent to keep the Hyderabad attack under check. Sanju Samson has been their find of the season. Apart from batting, the new boy in town is a classy fielder, which comes as a bonus for the visitors. Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson will be more than a handful for Hyderabad. Both teams are desperate for a win and for different reasons. It could be a close match with the team batting second having the slight edge. Nilesh Joshi
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