A loss also won’t completely rule the Sunrisers out of reckoning but for now Kane Williamson’s side have their fate in their own hands. It has been a roller-coaster season for last season’s runners-up side with six wins and seven losses in the 13 games so far.
Their openers — David Warner and Jonny Bairstow — were their biggest trump cards and leading run-scorers with 692 and 445 runs respectively. However, Hyderabad always knew that the duo will not be available for the entire duration of the tournament.
The Sunrisers were hoping that their skipper Williamson would be able to step and partially make up for the twin losses but just 58 runs in seven games for the Kiwi skipper means the Hyderabad side have been under tremendous pressure.
Manish Pandey has found a new lease of life since moving up to the No. 3 spot and now has 305 runs in 10 games at an average of 50.83 and a strike-rate of 141. Pandey, who will be playing in front of his home crowd in Bengaluru, was instrumental in ensuring a Super Over against Mumbai, smashing 71 off 47 balls and will be eyeing one final flourish to lock in the Playoff spot.
The Sunrisers have the added incentive of making the Playoff since the IPL-12 final have been moved from Chennai to their home ground in Hyderabad. On a fine batting track in Bengaluru, Sunrisers bowlers Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed would have to be at their best to keep the likes of Virat Kohli & Co in check.
The home side are already out of the Playoff race after the rained-out encounter earlier this week. Pride is all RCB have to play for in their final league stage encounter and the like of Kohli and AB de Villiers will look to sign off on a winning note and spoil Hyderabad’s party.
Players to watch out for
Manish Pandey: The Karnataka batsman has found a new lease of life since being dropped for poor form by SRH earlier this season. His last four knock are: 71*, 36, 61 and 83*. Pandey, who is also the Karnataka skipper, knows the Chinnaswamy Stadium well and will love to bat on the placid batting track to lead the way for Sunrisers.
Virat Kohli: The RCB skipper has played his part with the willow, scoring 448 runs in 13 games including a century and two fifties. Kohli looked in sublime touch in the rain-hit tie against the Rajasthan Royals before holing out to Shreyas Gopal. Team India captain will be desperate to sign off on a winning note in what has largely been a season to forget for Bangalore.
SRH: Williamson has not been averse to dropping himself in the past when he is not in form for the sake of the team. If the skipper decides to sit this one out, tall Australian paceman Billy Stanlake could be tried to hustle RCB batsmen.
RCB: While there are no injury concerns in the side, youngsters like Kulwant Khejroliya and Himmat Singh could be given an opportunity in their final game of the season.
Probable Playing XI:
SRH: Kane Williamson (C), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Wriddhiman Saha, Martin Guptill, Vijay Shankar and Yusuf Pathan
RCB: Virat Kohli (capt), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shivam Dube, Navdeep Saini, Himmat Singh, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar and Kulwant Khejroliya
First Published: May 3, 2019, 7:25 PM IST