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Hyderabad take on Rajasthan for a spot in IPL final

Rajasthan Royals recently ended a five-game winless streak with an all-round performance against RCB.

In head-to-head encounters between these teams, Hyderabad has won 10 games, while Rajasthan has won 9. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

IPL’s top power-hitters Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma will face a different challenge against spin twins Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin when Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) take on Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the second Qualifier on Friday.

The duo, nicknamed ‘Travishek’ by fans, have excelled in power-hitting this season. Head (533 runs at 199.62) and Abhishek (470 at 207.04) have hit 72 sixes and 96 boundaries between them. Adding to SRH’s firepower is Heinrich Klaasen, who has scored 413 runs at a strike rate of 180 and hit 34 sixes.

However, playing at Chepauk, with its sticky pitch, will be different from playing at Uppal, Kotla, or Wankhede. The ball tends to stop, making stroke play difficult. Ashwin, who has played extensively at this ground, and Chahal, the country’s best leg-spinner, will aim to challenge Head, Abhishek, and Klaasen effectively.

SRH’s bowling relies heavily on T Natarajan, their top wicket-taker this season. Playing on his home turf, Natarajan will look to exploit the conditions. The experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Pat Cummins also have key roles, although Kumar has been wicket-less in his last two games. A significant issue for SRH is the lack of quality spinners, with Mayank Markande and Shahbaz Ahmed not performing at the desired level.

On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals recently ended a five-game winless streak with an all-round performance against RCB. In batting, Yashasvi Jaiswal showed positive signs, and he aims to continue his form ahead of the T20 World Cup in the Americas next month. Skipper Sanju Samson needs to improve his performance, as he has not crossed the 20-run mark in his last three games. Dhruv Jurel faces pressure after failing to reach double digits in his last two outings.

In head-to-head encounters between these teams, Hyderabad has won 10 games, while Rajasthan has won 9.

RR relies on its Caribbean power-hitters Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell, who displayed their capabilities against RCB. Riyan Parag, who has shown serious form this season, is also a key player for the team. The effectiveness of Ashwin and Chahal in curbing SRH’s power-hitters will be crucial for RR’s chances.

Squads:

SRH: Abhishek Sharma, Travis Head, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Aiden Markram, Abdul Samad, Nitish Reddy, Shahbaz Ahmed, Pat Cummins (c), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, T Natarajan, Mayank Markande, Umran Malik, Anmolpreet Singh, Glenn Phillips (wk), Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar, Upendra Yadav (wk), Jhathavedh Subramanyan, Sanvir Singh, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Marco Jansen, Akash Maharaj Singh, Mayank Agarwal.

RR: Sanju Samson (c & wk), Abid Mushtaq, Avesh Khan, Dhruv Jurel, Donovan Ferreira, Kuldeep Sen, Kunal Singh Rathore, Nandre Burger, Navdeep Saini, Ravichandran Ashwin, Riyan Parag, Sandeep Sharma, Shimron Hetmyer, Shubham Dubey, Rovman Powell, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Trent Boult, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tanush Kotian.

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