Brook in focus as SRH take on Royals in a bid to stay alive

Brook in focus as SRH take on Royals in a bid to stay alive

Big picture: Brook in the spotlight

In the days leading up to December’s IPL auction, Rajasthan Royals’ think-tank assembled at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Kochi. After falling just short of the title in 2022, they retained the majority of their squad but had INR 13.2 crore left. During their meetings, they decided that they were prepared to spend almost all of that sum on one player: Harry Brook.

They anticipated fierce competition. “If you look at the South Africa auction and the IPL one before that,” Jake Lush McCrum, their chief executive, said in one meeting shown in a two-part series on Royals’ YouTube channel, “Sunrisers had that one target and they didn’t want to risk anything to go for it, even though they had so much money… logically, they would go for him.”

The series also shows footage of a conversation between Sanju Samson, Royals’ captain, and Giles Lindsay, their head of analytics. “So we are very much keen on having Brook with us? Where are we planning to bat him, No. 4?” Samson asks. “No, we’re thinking lower,” Lindsay responds.

If they had been successful, Royals would likely have fielded a team featuring three overseas batters in Brook, Jos Buttler and Shimron Hetmyer; instead, after taking the bidding up to INR 13 crore, Sunrisers got their man. “He’s a rare talent, and he’s going to do very well in the IPL,” Manoj Badale, Royals’ chief executive, said. “Let’s just hope he remembers that we bid him all the way up, so he doesn’t score too many against us.”

As fate would have it, Brook made his IPL debut against Royals last month, making a scratchy 13 off 21 balls. He will come up against them once more on Sunday night – that is, if he keeps his place after a lean run of scores since his brilliant hundred against Kolkata Knight Riders three weeks ago.

Both sides go into this game with four defeats in their last five games, and in desperate need of a win on Sunday night. Sunrisers are mathematically still in contention for the playoffs, but will realistically need to win every game; for Royals, three wins in four should be enough to qualify.

Team news: Will Zampa keep his spot?

Adam Zampa replaced Jason Holder as Royals’ fourth overseas player in their heavy home defeat to Gujarat Titans on Friday night, but his three wicketless overs cost 40 runs thanks to Hardik Pandya’s boundary blitz. Royals have confirmed that Obed McCoy is fit and available for selection, while they could also consider bringing Joe Root into their middle order.

For Sunrisers, the main question is around Brook’s spot. They have invested heavily in him, and he is clearly a player of huge potential, but his recent form – and their position on the points table – makes Glenn Phillips a contender to replace him.

Form guide

Rajasthan Royals: LLWLL (last five matches, most recent first)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: LWLLL

Impact Player strategy

Rajasthan Royals
Royals brought in Riyan Parag during their collapse against Titans, which left them short on seam options in their defence. Their substitution is likely to involve a domestic bowler and a specialist batter – but they have sprung some surprises with their usage of the Impact-Player rule throughout the season.

Probable XII: 1 Jos Buttler, 2 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 3 Sanju Samson (capt & wk), 4 Devdutt Padikkal, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Dhruv Jurel, 7 R Ashwin, 8 Jason Holder/Adam Zampa, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal, 12 Kuldip Yadav

Sunrisers Hyderabad
Kartik Tyagi’s two overs cost 30 runs in his first appearance of the season in Sunrisers’ defeat to KKR on Thursday night, and the relatively big playing area at Sawai Mansingh Stadium could make Umran Malik a viable option to return to the side.

Probable XII: 1 Abhishek Sharma, 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Rahul Tripathi, 4 Aiden Markram (capt), 5 Harry Brook/Glenn Phillips, 6 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 7 Abdul Samad, 8 Marco Jansen, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Mayank Markande, 11 Umran Malik, 12 T Natarajan

The big question

Should SRH keep faith with Brook?

104 votes

Yes. He’s too good to keep struggling

No. It’s time for Glenn Phillips to play

Stats and Trivia: Buttler vs Bhuvi

  • Bhuvneshwar Kumar has dismissed Jos Buttler five times in 39 balls in T20Is, but is yet to get him out in the IPL in six attempts.
  • Royals have scored at 9.43 runs per over in the powerplay this season; Sunrisers at just 7.59 runs per over, the slowest in the league.
  • Sanju Samson has an excellent record against Sunrisers. No batter has scored more runs against SRH than him in IPL history.
  • Sunrisers are the only team without a batter who has scored 200-plus runs this IPL season; Royals have the most, with five.

Pitch and conditions

The match will be played on the same strip that was used in Friday night’s match, which looks increasingly dry. Aiden Markram, Sunrisers’ captain, said the game “was on in the background” as he settled into his Jaipur hotel room. “It was a low-scoring game, but we saw with Gujarat’s innings, when they batted, that it’s still a pitch you can score runs on.”

The forecast suggests Sunday will be a warm day, with temperature into the high 30s degrees Celsius.


“The reality of it is, we played a piss-poor game – the shittest cricket that we can play. Thinking about what happened today, the only thing you want to do is learn from it.”
Kumar Sangakkara didn’t pull his punches in the Royals dressing room after their Friday-night defeat.

“He’s going to play one way, and it’s going to be a positive, attacking brand of cricket. That results in a high-risk approach: sometimes it’s going to work and sometimes, unfortunately, it’s not. You’ve got to look outside of these three weeks: people are quick to forget what he’s done in the build-up to a competition like this.”
Aiden Markram is in no doubt of Brook’s quality, despite his lean run.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

(With Inputs from ESPN)

#Brook #focus #SRH #Royals #bid #stay #alive