Rajasthan Royals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Dubai
Pro Tip: Expect both captains, Steven Smith and David Warner, to come good, given they are long due and have shown improved form of late.
Our XI: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Steven Smith, Jos Buttler, Manish Pandey, Rahul Tewatia, Mohammad Nabi, Jofra Archer, Rashid Khan, T Natarajan, Kartik Tyagi
Substitutes: Jason Holder, Shreyas Gopal, Ben Stokes, Basil Thampi
Player availability: Kane Williamson is likely to miss this game because of an adductor injury. All other players are available for selection.
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.
Captain: David Warner
Though Warner hasn't played a really big innings in the tournament so far, his run tally of 331 runs shows he has been consistent. Also, in three innings against the Royals since 2019, Warner has scored 154 runs at a strike rate of 143.92, including 48 in their previous meeting.
Vice-captain: Steven Smith
Smith has found some form of late, scoring a fifty against the Royal Challengers Bangalore before seeing his team through against the Chennai Super Kings. Though he starts a bit slowly, he is capable of making up for it. Since 2019 in all T20s, Smith has a strike rate of 124.77 in the middle overs, which goes up to 156.19 at the death.
Jos Buttler: Buttler has now shifted to the middle order for the Royals - thus taking up the job of the finisher - and is fresh off a match-winning 70 not out against the Super Kings. Though his preferred position in the format is at the top, he has a decent record in the middle order too. Buttler has scored 214 runs at an average of 30.57 and a strike rate of 127.38 as a non-opener in the IPL since 2018.
Mohammad Nabi: Nabi bowls four overs every game as well as bats in the top six. His economy rate of 5.10 was the best among all bowlers with ten or more wickets in the recent CPL. In his only game this season - though he had gone wicketless - his economy was just 5.75. That apart, he strikes at 183.92 at the death across all T20s since 2019.
Jonny Bairstow: Since 2019, Bairstow has scored 30-plus on 11 occasions in 19 innings in the IPL. Given Williamson is likely to miss this game, he must take more responsibility and convert his decent starts into a big knock. Two out of his three fifties this season have come at this venue as well.
Rahul Tewatia: Tewatia has scored 222 runs at a strike rate of 145.09 and an average of 44.40, both of those being the best among all the Royals batsmen who have faced 75 or more balls. With the ball, he has picked up seven wickets at an economy of 7.38 so far in the tournament.
Kartik Tyagi: Young Tyagi shown great promise with his ability and confidence. He has picked up six wickets in as many games at an economy of 8.56. He bowls both in the powerplay and at the death, which makes his economy impressive.
If Jason Holder plays ahead of Nabi, then bring him into your XI.
Manish Pandey has scored two half-centuries in his last two innings against the Royals, including one this season. That makes him an alternate vice-captain choice, especially if the Sunrisers bat second. Smith, on the other hand, has only scored 115 runs in seven innings while chasing this season.