Stepping out against Royal Challenger Bangalore, the Sunrisers Hyderabad have a do-or-die affair staring in their eyes.
“This is always going to happen, some (teams) peak early and some do better later. As we can see, the teams in the lower-half are turning out some really good performances now”, said the Royal Challenger Bangalore’s (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli after his team suffered a 5-wicket loss against the Mumbai Indians. “Some teams do better later”, is exactly what Kohli and Co will have to circumspect about when they step out on Sharjah on Saturday to meet the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Contrary to their reputation, RCB has managed to script a smooth campaign this year. Although, things have swayed against them in the recent past, and they have two losses as results in their last two fixtures. Early hard-work in the league means that RCB is still second on the table with 14 points in their kitty, but a slip-up at this stage might prove costly.
Twice in their last two fixtures have RCB fallen flat due to their newly-adopted and a rather re-thinkable strategy of being over-aggressive in the middle-overs. In trying to press the accelerator hard, they have lost more wickets than they can afford and, consequentially, have fallen short of where they could have reached. A loss in this game does not put them out of the reckoning.
For that matter, even if RCB lose both their matches, they can still qualify provided some favourable results from other games. Although being within a touching distance of the berth, they would want to grab it and breathe easy.
CSK’s mundane campaign might not have anything displayable about it, however, their party-spoiling has lit up the adventure in the table certainly. For the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), the sun has not risen this season but has not set yet either. With seven losses in twelve fixtures, they are seated at the seventh spot in the table. KKR’s loss in their last game against CSK means that SRH can be less worried, though only slightly. For now, they must be high on confidence after a thumping 88-run victory over DC.
Stepping out against RCB, they have a do-or-die affair staring in their eyes. With KXIP losing against the Rajasthan Royals, have made SRH’s chances of qualification a real possibility thanks to their exceptional net run-rate. They will now have to only win both their matches to make it to the top four.
Pitch and conditions
The record of teams chasing and defending at Sharjah stands at an equal of five-five, although in the last few matches, the team chasing has won four times. Given the small dimensions and a relatively newer pitch, expect high-scoring first innings, and then with dew playing a part, expect the total to be chased down.
Playing Combinations for RCB vs SRH
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Making as many as three changes in their unit last time, RCB dropped Aaron Finch, who has not been at his ballistic best this year. His replacement Josh Phillippe did well to provide a solid stand alongside Devdutt Padikkal, who smacked a spectacular 74 from just 45.
RCB has been dented by the absence of Navdeep Saini as that has thrown their team off-balance. Saini’s replacement Dale Steyn had a forgettable outing in the last game, and RCB might bring in Isuru Udana or Adam Zampa this time around. The spin duo of Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal will be in action, alongside pacer Mohammed Siraj.
Probable XI- Josh Philippe, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (WK), Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Gurkeerat Singh, Washington Sundar, Dale Steyn/Isuru Udana/Adam Zampa, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
SRH’s raised a few eyebrows by dropping Jonny Bairstow in the last game to accommodate Kane Williamson. The change forced them to push Wriddhiman Saha as an opener, although the move turned out to be a blessing as Saha’s 87-run knock became the guiding force for the team. A worrisome issue would be Saha’s fitness, as he did not come out to keep in the second innings.
Rashid Khan ended up with his best figures as he gave only 7 runs in his four overs bagging 3 wickets. Warner has needed Jason Holder’s overs, though he leaked runs aplenty in the last game. T Natarajan will pick himself alongside Sandeep Sharma and Shahbaz Nadeem.
Probable XI– David Warner (C), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Vijay Shankar, Jason Holder, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan
RCB vs SRH Head to Head
Played- 16 | RCB won- 7 | SRH won- 8 | NR- 1
Match Timings- 7:30 PM (IST), 6:00 PM (Local).
TV– Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 1 Hindi
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