The Royal Challengers take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad in a desperate bid to keep their playoff hopes alive. They have won their previous two games, while Hyderabad is coming off a loss at the hands of Chennai.
RCB cannot afford to lose, which would mean certain elimination. Bangalore have a decisive advantage in the race to the playoffs with their high net run rate, but they need to win their two remaining games for that to be a factor at all. Can they overcome the best team this season, or will SRH return to winning ways?
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shakib Al Hasan, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Rashid Khan, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan, Mohammad Nabi, Basil Thampi, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Sachin Baby, Chris Jordan, Tanmay Agarwal, Shreevats Goswami, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Alex Hales.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Quinton de Kock, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manan Vohra, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Mandeep Singh, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Parthiv Patel, Aniruddha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson.
Where the teams stand
The Sunrisers bowlers had a rare off day in the previous game, but their batsmen’s good form is a positive sign before the playoffs. Too often their attack has been tasked with bailing SRH out of jail after a failure from their batsmen, but the top order has improved over the last few games with Dhawan rediscovering his form from earlier in the tournament. Kane Williamson has been exemplary with the bat, the only consistent batsman of the team. The rest of the order still looks shaky, but batsmen like Pandey, Pathan, and Shakib have struck the ball well in the odd match. It is only consistency they lack.
The SRH bowling attack has been impeccable all season, and they will be Williamson’s trump card against a power-packed, but inconsistent RCB batting lineup. All five of their bowlers have been outstanding, with Bhuvi and Rashid Khan leading the way. They managed to take only one wicket in the last match and have had a large percentage of this season’s centuries scored against them. However, their ability to defend the lowest totals keeps SRH in the game no matter how their batting performs, and that is a huge advantage.
Fantasy Picks: All five of their bowlers are worthy picks for a fantasy team. Dhawan, Williamson, Bhuvi, and Rashid, in particular, will be key to their chances.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Challengers dismissed Punjab for just 88 in their previous game thanks to some extraordinary bowling from Umesh Yadav. He has been their wicket-taker this season, and his performances have been largely indicative of the team’s results. AB and Kohli are the other obvious MVPs in the side. These three will be instrumental in guiding RCB to any victory they might enjoy. RCB’s over-reliance on their big names has cost them in yet another season, putting pressure on the team at the end stages of the tournament to win every single game.
This contest is all about SRH’s bowling vs RCB’s batting. How RCBs batting copes with the likes of Bhuvi, Rashid, and co. will be a huge determinant of the result. RCB must utilise the power play to the fullest, and Kohli’s self-promotion to the top is a good idea. They need to have their best batsmen batting as high up in the order as possible to give themselves the best chance of winning, a possibility that is already looking grim.
Fantasy picks: Kohli, AB, and Umesh are the obvious picks from RCB. Chahal has been consistent in recent games as well, while Parthiv Patel has looked in good touch too.
SRH win. SRH have simply been too good this season, despite their hiccup in the last game.
Will the Sunrisers Hyderabad get things back on track with a win or will the Royal Challengers Bangalore pull off an almighty upset? Let us know in the comments and poll below.