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Cricket news - Time running out as SRH, RR seek late push

RR have four wins in ten games at the moment.

RR have four wins in ten games at the moment.

The business end of the tournament is nigh and both Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Rajasthan Royals have had their fair share of frustrations through the season. They showed lots of promise in the early days, even pulled off unlikely heists, yet both find themselves languishing in the bottom-half of the table where there's a frantic scramble to make the top four.

The common factor between the two teams has been their inability to close out games that they were in control of. SRH skipper David Warner vehemently expressed his frustration after their latest loss to Kolkata Knight Riders in the Super Over. Warner had demoted himself to lend strength to the fragile middle order factoring in Kane Williamson's hamstring injury. Jonny Bairstow opened with Williamson and got their side off to a good start, but quick wickets after the powerplay left Warner with a lot to do. He delivered in a slot that wasn't his own, almost even took his side over the line, but SRH fell heart-wrenchingly short by a solitary run to force a Super Over. SRH thereafter slipped to their third successive loss, still stuck on six points.

Rajasthan, meanwhile, picked up a handy seven-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings a couple of days ago despite a familiar top-order collapse. Steve Smith played second fiddle to Jos Buttler who drove them home on a tricky wicket that wasn't easy to bat on. The move to have Buttler in the middle order seems to be working for RR. However, it's the top order of Ben Stokes, Robin Uthappa and Sanju Samson that needs to get amongst the runs to push for victories.

Their leg-spin twins in Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia bowling in tandem in the middle overs has been instrumental in tying down the opposition, complementing Jofra Archer at the top, forcing the mistakes from the batsmen. While RR have the cushion of having an extra win, time is running out for SRH, who can't afford a slip-up. They need at least four wins in their last five games, while RR need another three from their remaining four for a shot at a playoffs berth. Looking at how closely-contested the tournament has been, it could come down to the NRR separating the sides in the end.

What:RR vs SRH, October 22, 2020; 7:30pm IST

Where:Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

What to expect:The wicket seems to be stopping a bit, but it still has a bit for the pacers. The average score seems to be around 160-170, but the role of the bowlers is growing in significance as the tournament is coming to a close.

Team news:

Rajasthan Royals:After Unadkat's horror over that fetched RCB 25 runs in the penultimate over of their clash against RCB that was instrumental in them losing the game that they controlled for most part, they brought in Rajpoot for the left-armer. Although Rajpoot bowled just the one over against CSK with six bowling options at their disposal, RR should retain the same XI.

Probable XI: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:Kane Williamson struggled with a hamstring niggle against KKR, and will most likely have to sit out of the clash against RR. Given the pace assistance in Dubai, Jason Holder could come in for him, adding to their middle order as well as giving them a seventh bowling option if Samad is used.Vijay Shankar bowling his four for the first time in the IPL for just 20 runs will give him and SRH some confidence for the middle overs. Thampi went for runs in his first game this season, but SRH don't have much reason to leave him out.

Probable XI:David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson/Jason Holder, Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi

Did you know?

- SRH is the only team in the season not to win a match batting second losing all the four games they chased.

- In seven matches against SRH, Jos Buttler has scored just 64 runs at 9.14 with a highest score of 16.

- Jofra Archer has dismissed David Warner five times in the six matches they faced off across formats in 2020.

What they said:"I've been doing ok, not quite scored as many runs as I would've liked to and help the team win matches. We've started to play better in the last few matches. We probably should've won the last three but have only managed to win one of those, so we now have four matches remaining, all of which are must-win for us. We will need to win all our games to give us a chance of making the playoffs. There's obviously a bit of a gap between the top 4 and us and we know the equation for us, so we move on to the next game with a hope to do well and hopefully win against the Sunrisers." - Jos Buttler.

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