Sunrisers Hyderabad will be reeling from the loss of the captain David Warner after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. Warner has been replaced by New Zealand superstar Kane Williamson who should provide a steady head for the team to follow.
Sunrisers Hyderabad replaced the Deccan Chargers for the 2013 season and have performed well reaching the play-offs twice and winning the title in 2016. Overall they have a winning record of 55% and they will be looking to maintain that form here.
Joining Kane Williamson as international signings are all-rounders Carlos Brathwaite, Shakhib Al Hasan and Mohmmad Nabi, bowlers Billy Stanlake, Rashid Khan and Chris Jordan and Alex Hales is the only other key batsman on the roster. The big-hitting English international joins Sunrisers Hyderabad to replace David Warner.
Coach: Zubin Bharucha
Captain: Ajinkya Rahane
Much like Sunrisers, Rajasthan Royals have also been severely affected by the ball-tampering scandal with captain Steve Smith also being stripped of his leadership role and banned from this year’s tournament.
Steve Smith’s replacement is on the other end of the experience section, with little known South African wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaassen replacing the Australian Superstar. Klaassen has played 49 domestic T20’s with a healthy average of 36 and an impressive strike rate of 146.28.
Rajasthan have recruited some very handy players for the 2018 season. Although some players are not the biggest international names, they have had some incredible success in recent T20 tournaments. Ben Stokes returns after his brief time away from the game and will look to improve on his tour of New Zealand. D’Arcy Short, Ben Laughlin, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler all had extremely successful Big Bash tournaments and will be key players for the Royals. Archer is not fit yet so he misses out here while Stokes’ participating remains limited as he builds his fitness.
Funnily enough both of these teams captains have been banned from this tournament, so it is only fitting they meet in the opening round. The Sunrisers have been a consistent team since inception whilst the Royals have been somewhat disappointing since winning the very first IPL back in 2008. In what could be a rain affected match, the Sunrisers should be too strong with their squad looking to have more depth and experience across the board and some key Royals’ players like Archer and Stokes not being available or at their best early in this tournament.