cricket:image:1432760 [900x506]
cricket:image:1432760 [900x506] (Credit: Getty Images)

Paudel Sri Lanka are under more pressure than us

This is a clash of philosophies. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) are the second-quickest scoring side in IPL 2024; Rajasthan Royals (RR) are not even in the top five. SRH are the most profligate bowling side; RR the second-most miserly. It is plain their eggs are not equitably spread in their baskets. This is what they could do tactically to get the better of the other on Friday in Qualifier 2 at Chepauk.

Win the toss and…

In the league stages, Chennai had the best win-loss ratio for chasing teams at 5-2. That's because the pitch tended to start off a little sticky before easing out with the evening moisture. Not to mention a lot of dew. That makes the choice straightforward for RR, who have enjoyed chasing and have been conservative when batting first.

SRH, though, have preferred to bat first and score big, but if they see a lot of dew on the night before the game, even they might want to chase.

Boult and Ashwin to open the bowling

Trent Boult and R Ashwin were the reasons why SRH had their slowest powerplay of this IPL when they met RR earlier and won by one run. That was also the slowest combined output for Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma in an innings where they have faced at least 20 balls put together. There's a reason it worked: Ashwin had two left-hand batters to bowl at, and Boult was spot on.

While Head does historically enjoy a good match-up against Boult, he was kept quiet in the league match in Hyderabad. Also, Mitchell Starc has now dismissed Head hitting the off stump with a full, swinging delivery in all three formats. In the first match, Boult kept the left-hand openers quiet with two men deep on the leg side and denying them room. He might want to just try to swing a couple into the lower half of the off stump before he goes to that old plan.

It is apparent that Head will not take Ashwin on: in 17 balls, he has scored just ten runs without a boundary against Ashwin. Abhishek might go after Ashwin as he has before, but Ashwin will back himself, especially if the pitch is a little sticky.

SRH to target Chahal

They did so the last time, too, consigning Yuzvendra Chahal to his worst figures and the second-worst analysis for a spinner in IPL history: 4-0-62-0. Heinrich Klaasen has scored 108 runs off 46 balls from Chahal. Even Head has 40 off 25 without getting out to Chahal. This is probably why Head was happy to take his time against the new ball when RR held the advantage in their previous meeting.

This will be Chahal's big test because Klaasen - and Nitish Reddy also - is good at hitting the typical defensive lengths of spinners. He will hope for assistance from the pitch.

Cummins to Samson and Parag

Despite KKR advancing down the wicket to him successfully, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will have to do the heavy lifting in the powerplay as SRH are light on spin and Pat Cummins has decent numbers against Riyan Parag and Sanju Samson.

Cutters, cutters, cutters

RR are not wrong in being excited about the spin-friendly conditions in Chennai, especially with SRH struggling to nail down their spinner. But be advised that changes of pace have worked beautifully for the quicks in Chennai. Among venues that have staged more than four matches this IPL, Chennai has yielded the fewest runs per slower ball. Fast bowlers have taken 60 wickets there to spinners' 17. Not long ago, Cummins went to a big match on a pitch made for spinners but outclassed his opponents with cutters. He might need to do the same to overcome the lack of spin in his side.

RR to attack more if batting first

RR have attacked 36.8% of the balls they have faced this IPL. Only CSK have been less adventurous. For reference, DC and KKR have attacked 45% of their deliveries, SRH 43.3%. RR's bowling, though, has made up for it. Possibly because they have the bowling, they feel they don't need to take as many risks as the others. However, if they end up batting first, as they did against CSK, that conservatism could leave them with a sub-par score like in that league game. Their 141 for 5 in that match was comfortably the lowest total this IPL for the loss of five or fewer wickets.