The two teams that finished at the bottom of the points table last season – Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals – will commence their IPL 2022 campaign on Tuesday evening at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune; it will be the first game this season at this venue.
SRH start afresh having released former captain David Warner and their best spinner – or the best T20 spinner in the world – Rashid Khan. Kane Williamson will return to the field for the first time this year having been away from the game since November last year tending to his elbow injury.
As for RR, Sanju Samson has retained the faith of the franchise to lead them again after a disappointing season last year. The RR squad looks better in quality and depth this season than it did last time around, a result of some smart tactics at the auction table.
Talking about the availability of players, only Australian pacer Sean Abbott will miss SRH’s first three games as he’s on national duty for the white-ball series in Pakistan, but the rest of the SRH squad is fit and available. Rajasthan have their full squad strength to choose from after Rassie van der Dussen and Marco Jansen landed in time, completed their quarantine and are available for selection.
IPL 2022: SRH Predicted XI
Talking about predicted XIs, first for SRH – Rahul Tripathi and Abhishek Sharma are expected to open followed by the overseas trio of Kane Williamson, Nicholas Pooran, and Aiden Markram. Markram may pip over van der Dussen for his IPL experience and his handy off-spin bowling. Abdul Samad, who was retained by the franchise, will be seen in the finisher’s role.
Washington Sundar is returning from injury and will be SRH’s key spinning all-rounder. SRH have two overseas bowling all-rounders to choose from – Marco Jansen and Romario Shepherd; the South African is likely to be preferred over the West Indian.
SRH have a strong Indian pace attack comprising seniors Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan and youngsters Umran Malik and Kartik Tyagi. Fans can also expect the likes of Priyam Garg, Shreyas Gopal, and J Suchith to feature later in the tournament.
SRH predicted XI:
Rahul Tripathi, Abhishek Sharma, Kane Williamson (c), Nicholas Pooran (wk), Aiden Markram, Abdul Samad, Washington Sundar, Marco Jansen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Umran Malik/Kartik Tyagi
IPL 2022: RR predicted XI
The Royals’ first eleven looks very much settled with the retained trio of Jos Buttler, Yashavi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson and Devdutt Padikkal, who was bought in the auction, to play in a new role at number 3.
Shimron Hetmyer and Riyan Parag will be their slog overs finishers, followed by bowling all-rounders R Ashwin, Nathan Coulter-Nile. RR might also go with James Neesham instead of Coulter-Nile but that would weaken their bowling.
Yuzvendra Chahal will partner with Ashwin forming a strong spin combo; Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna will form a solid fast bowling pair for the inaugural champions.
The Royals have plenty of back-ups too in Karun Nair, van der Dussen, Daryl Mitchell, Navdeep Saini and Obed McCoy – all of whom could feature going deep in the tournament.
RR predicted XI:
Jos Buttler, Yashavi Jaiswal, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (c,wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, R Ashwin, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Yuzvendra Chahal, Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna
Venue: MCA Stadium, Pune
Only one T20 game has been played at this venue in the last four years, before that this was used as the home stadium for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2018. The average first-innings score in the last 14 games is 170 and teams chasing have won nine of the last 14 games.
Unlike the grounds in Mumbai, where pacers have more advantage than spinners, at the MCA in Pune, the spinners are expected to make more impact than the faster bowlers, given the pitch in Pune is made up of black soil – in Mumbai red soil is used – and the bigger boundaries.