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With none of the teams yet confirming their play-offs berth, the Indian Premier League 2020 is being one of most closely fought in the history of the tournament. The match on Thursday, which is scheduled to take place between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad will mark the 40th match of this season. The two teams are set to face- off each other at the Dubai International Stadium.

Rajasthan Royals will come into this match on the back of a dominating win over the Chennai Super Kings. The Chennai side won the toss and elected to bat first. But the struggling batting line- up of the CSK once again could not get going and managed a below par total of 125. Though CSK bowlers threaten to take the game away from the Royals by reducing them to 28/3 in the first 4 overs. The unbeaten 98 runs stand between the captain Steven Smith and Jos Buttler ensured the team got over the line comfortably.

While the Sunrisers Hyderabad had a thrilling contest against the Kolkata Knight Riders. KKR were put into bat by the Sunrisers. With most of their batsmen getting starts, the two times champions managed to notch up 163 runs on the board. SRH who made a surprising move by sending David Warner in the middle- order required 18 runs of the final over. 

The Australian managed to hit a hat-trick of boundaries and bought it down to 2 runs of the last ball. But the clever bowling of Russell meant that they could take only a run of the final ball. Sunrisers who started the super over could manage only 2 runs and the Kolkata side were not going to lose the match from there. 

The previous encounter between the two sides saw Rajasthan Royals come out the best of the two. The coin fell in favor of David Warner and chose to bat first. SRH with the help of Warner and a half- century by their star middle-order batsman Manish Pandey reached a modest total of 158, given the nature of the pitch and batting line-up of the RR, the score seemed below par.

Rajasthan Royals are now placed 6th in the table and now stand all chance to make it to the top four if they can continue their winning momentum. While, the Sunrisers Hyderabad are placed one below them on the table and this encounter would mean a lot to them as a defeat here would probably put an end to their hopes of making it to the play-offs.

Can Sunrisers Hyderabad keep their hopes alive? Or will Rajasthan Royals close in on the top four?

Head to Head

Matches Played- 12, RR- 6, SRH- 6, N/R- 0

Team News

Rajasthan Royals have not reported any injuries. The team now has won back to back matches and look very well balanced. The management and captain would be more than happy to feature the same combination that handed them a comfortable victory over the Chennai Super Kings.

Sunrisers on the other side once again have issues to address in their middle- order. The plan of sending Warner three down did almost work in their favor against the Kolkata side. But the super over did not go the way of Hyderabad. The experienced candidate Vijay Shankar has been having a rough patch which could open up the road for Abishek Sharma.

Pitch and Conditions

As seen in the last few games the pitch has slowed down considerably. The last two matches played here have been in favor of the team chasing, which indicates the presence of due and it could once again play an important role. Said that, given the slowness of the pitch the team batting first could definitely fancy their chances by scoring anything more than the 160 mark. The spinners are likely to have a good outing.

The conditions are once again ideal for the sport as clear skies are expected throughout the day. The temperature has been on the lower side from the last few days and is once again on the lower side here as the maximum expected temperature is reported to reach 28 degrees, which would definitely be a huge relief for the players. Though, the humidity is on the higher side.

Probable Playing Xl

Rajasthan Royals (RR): Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson (wk), Steven Smith (c), Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Kartik Tyagi

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH): David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar/Abishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi/ Khaleel Ahmed

Key Battles

Jonny Bairstow (SRH) vs Kartik Tyagi (RR)

Jonny Bairstow (SRH) vs Kartik Tyagi (RR)

The Sunrisers opener Jonny Bairstow has been on the scoring side with valuable runs for his team. But not at the pace he usually does. The English opener currently has scored 316 runs in the 9 matches played at a strike- rate of 129, the strike-rate is way less than his usual rate. He is one of the few players on his day who can destroy the opposition with his attacking batting. Can he produce one such innings to keep the hopes of the Hyderabad side alive?

Kartik Tyagi has been in great touch and looks in great shape. The youngster is someone who doesn't fear challenging the batsmen and loves to put up a healthy battle with them. He has definitely made few batsmen struggle with his bowling and picked up 6 wickets so far this season. He could definitely do that against Jonny Bairstow, who would be looking to maximize the powerplay in his favor.

Can the English opener dominate the youngster? Or will the pacer once again rise to the occasion?

Ben Stokes (RR) vs T. Natarajan (SRH)

Ben Stokes (RR) vs T. Natarajan (SRH)

The star English all- rounder Ben Stokes has not yet come out of the shell and looks to be struggling to get going. The fact that he was away from the sport for more than 2 months has been taking a toll on the all-rounder. Said that, we know how dangerous Stokes can be and what he has done in the past for his country. He has currently played 4 matches and scored 80 runs. He will be looking to better those stats.

SRH on the other side have a great potential in the form of T. Natarajan. He has been bowling exceptional well and his pin- point Yorkers have been much talked about. The 29- year old will know the Englishmen is yet to get to his prime and will be looking to bag his wicket early in the game. The pacer has picked up 11 wickets in the 9 matches played this season.

Can the star all- rounder break the shackles? Or will the Sunrisers spearhead cause the damage?

Prediction

Rajasthan Royals look solid on the sheet and they have the momentum as well in their side. Sunrisers are in a do or die situation and the pressure is likely to take a toll on their performance. The pitch in Dubai has been on the slower side as seen in the last few games and the same trend can be expected. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad are still facing trouble with their weak middle- order and they will be hoping the change in the batting line- up works in their favor. They will have a huge task ahead of them to get past Steven Smith and Co.

Cricwizz predicts Rajasthan Royals to win