IPL 2020 Match 26 Preview: SRH vs RR - Can Stokes rescue Rajasthan's derailed campaign against Hyderabad?
Ben Stokes' availability comes as a boon for Rajasthan who have been struggling big time in the competition. However, with Stokes' quarantine ending on October 10, it would be interesting to see whether or not he is ready to get going straightaway.
Stokes' journey - England to New Zealand to UAE
The England all-rounder left the series against Pakistan midway to spend time with his family after his father was diagnosed with brain cancer. As per the laws in New Zealand, he had to spend two weeks in isolation before he could reunite with his family.
After spending a few days with them, Stokes was ready to return to the IPL, but the nature of the world we live in meant that he had to undergo another six-day quarantine. With that ending on October 10, Stokes can be included in the Rajasthan playing XI but the big question is whether or not he is match ready.
Even Superman needs practice
Stokes has not had enough practice over the last couple of months and he hasn't been able to do anything but remain cooped up in his room because of the quarantine.
Agreed, Stokes is Superman and can do anything. But even for him, it would be a tough job to slot straight back in and deliver with both bat and ball, especially with the unrealistic expectations that the fans have of him.
If Stokes does not fire, it would be difficult for Rajasthan to get the better of Sunrisers Hyderabad who have played some good cricket in their last few matches after starting on a poor note.
Steve Smith back at the top?
Yashasvi Jaiswal did not look at his best in the last game Rajasthan. RR can either show their trust in him for a couple more matches. Or, Steve Smith goes to the top of the batting order along with Jos Buttler and they include another middle order batsman.
RR's bowling coming together
Ben Stokes will come into the side in place of Andrew Tye as the other three overseas players Jos Buttler, Steve Smith and Jofra Archer are undroppable. Stokes' inclusion will provide more stability to both their batting and bowling.
With the likes of Varun Aaron and Kartik Tyagi joining Jofra Archer in the pace department and Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia doing a good job as spinners, Rajasthan's bowling is certainly their stronger suit.
SRH back in it
Sunrisers Hyderabad, who were looking iffy at the start of the tournament, seem to have found the right combination and have now won three of their six matches.
David Warner and Jonny Bairstow are doing well for them at the top of the order and with Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson in the middle order, Hyderabad are beginning to look settled.
Rashid Khan key for Hyderabad
Rashid Khan will continue to be their chief striker and will expect a bit more support from the likes of Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Sandeep Sharma and Khaleel Ahmed. T Natarajan has been doing a fine job at the death.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH): David Warner(c), Jonny Bairstow(wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, K Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan
Rajasthan Royals (RR): Jos Buttler(wk), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Steven Smith(c), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Mahipal Lomror, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Varun Aaron, Kartik Tyagi
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