After a miserable start to the season, everyone thought that this season is going to be another disaster for Royal Challengers Bangalore. But, Virat Kohli’s men have bounced back in fashion, and they are still in contention for a playoff spot. However, the next two matches are going to be hit-or-miss for them, as one more defeat will ensure elimination from the tournament.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, on the contrary, are the team of the tournament. They have lost only three times this season, and even with two more games to go, they have already made sure that they will be in the top two of the league table. However, it is not a time to be complacent and Kane Williamson will surely want to continue the winning momentum.
The Bangalore side had a fantastic outing two days ago. A disciplined bowling lineup led by Umesh Yadav helped Royal Challengers bundle Kings XI Punjab within a paltry total of 88. And then, openers Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli needed only 8.1 overs to race to victory, with ten wickets in hand.
Sunrisers, on the other hand, lost their last fixture. Batting first against Chennai Super Kings, Shikhar Dhawan and Williamson batted beautifully to get to the total of 179. But, that was nothing in front of the destructive duo of Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu. The Chennai pair raised 134 in their opening partnership, and that took the game away from Hyderabad. Rayudu, in particular, was spectacular and batted through the innings to get a hundred and to take his team to the right side of the result.
This is an immensely crucial game for the hosts, and they cannot risk any slip-up. Hence, they will have to field the strongest eleven. Given the way the players performed in recent times, it looks unlikely that Kohli will go for any change.
On the contrary, Sunrisers can afford to experiment a bit and find the most appropriate combination before the all-important playoffs. Manish Pandey has not fired in a long time, while Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan have been tad bit more consistent. The team management might decide to play both Hooda and Pathan and rest Pandey. In the bowling department, youngster Siddharth Kaul had a fantastic start to the campaign, but he has failed to put any impact of late. Basil Thampi now deserves a chance ahead of him, and he might be used against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Mohammad Nabi can also come in, giving rest to Shakib Al Hasan. The team otherwise should remain unchanged.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Parthiv Patel (Wk), Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Alex Hales, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson (C), Shakib Al Hasan / Mohammad Nabi, Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan, Sreevats Goswami, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi.