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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Sunrisers can put Royals in the shade

Hyderabad's balanced squad should have the edge

Kane Williamson has replaced David Warner as Hyderabad captain
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Indian Premier League
Sky Sports Cricket, Mix & Main Event, 3.30pm Monday

But for a piece of sandpaper, Monday's IPL game would have featured a titanic battle between teams led by star Australian batsmen David Warner and Steve Smith.

However, with both out of the picture after the ball-tampering scandal in their Test series against South Africa, their IPL franchises have scrambled to replace them and Hyderabad Sunrisers are fancied to get the better of a fascinating clash. 

Rajasthan Royals are playing their first game back in the league after a two-year corruption ban and grabbed the auction headlines with big bids for England all-rounder Ben Stokes and the most expensive Indian player, Jaydev Unadkat.

Ajinkya Rahane replaces Smith as Royals captain and there is some continuity as he played alongside Stokes with Pune last season. 

Stokes is likely to be bowling off a short run due to a back strain and Hyderabad look to have a better balanced squad overall.

Classy Kiwi Kane Williamson takes over as captain while England's Alex Hales should form a strong left-right opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan.

The pitch is likely to have been prepared to favour the home side's spin twins Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan, who have an ideal bowling coach in Muttiah Muralitharan.

Hyderabad Sunrisers
1pt 4-5 Hills, Sky Bet

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Alex Hales should form a strong left-right opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan
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