December 2, 2023
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IPL 2022: Rajasthan Royals have enough options to play around, says skipper Sanju Samson

Rajasthan Royals, who have multiple match-winners in their ranks, face Sunrisers Hyderabad in a clash of former champions on Tuesday as both teams look to get off to a winning start in the IPL.

The Royals’ batting fortunes will be largely determined by the performance of their talented skipper Sanju Samson, who has been around for a while but has yet to live up to the hype. His Achilles’ heel has been inconsistency, and he’d like to change that this season by leading from the front in their quest for their first championship since the inaugural edition in 2008.

Every year, Samson plays one or two game-changing innings, but if the Royals are to win their second title, he’ll have to go above and beyond. With the T20 World Cup coming up later this year, good performances in the IPL could help Samson cement a spot in the Indian team.

Jos Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal are the most likely openers for the Jaipur-based side. A rampaging Buttler can rip through any bowling attack, and if he and the stylish Padikkal can get off to fast starts, the Royals will be well served with Samson and the rest to come. The Royals have a number of middle-order options, including power hitter Shimron Hetmyer, Rassie Van der Dussen, Jimmy Neesham, and Riyan Parag, whose contributions could make or break the team’s fortunes.

With the addition of ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, they have a stronger bowling unit this time around, and the duo are certainties in the playing XI. Their eight overs would be critical in the context of a game, and nothing would please skipper Samson more than if the duo could spin a web around the SRH batters.

Trent Boult, the former captain of the Mumbai Indians, will lead the pace attack, which includes Prasidh Krishna and Navdeep Saini. The experience of captain Kane Williamson, the team’s best batter, would be crucial for SRH. His work with the willow and as a leader could make a big difference in the team’s success. T Natarajan, a left-arm pacer on the comeback trail, will be hoping to get his yorkers right in order to reclaim his spot in the national team. Another T20 specialist, Washington Sundar, could be a key player for the Sunrisers, and one of Shreyas Gopal or J Suchith could be tried out.

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