Royal Challengers Bangalore will face a resurgent Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator of the IPL playoffs on Friday night. It’s win or go home for both teams. With that in mind, we take a look at how the teams have made their way to this stage along with some predictions for the game.
Saturday 1am (AEDT)
Both RCB and Sunrisers have been hot and cold right through the season so far. RCB started quickly, putting up some atypical early wins to set the tone for the season. Then, they ran into the same end-overs bowling issues that have plagued them for years. It quickly became worse when they finished the group stage with three straight losses. A certain top-two finish quickly turned into a fumbling fourth spot.
Sunrisers went the other way, starting the season slowly before picking up the intensity in the last few games to sneak into the playoffs. Their entire season came down to the final match against Mumbai Indians, a game they simply had to win to qualify. David Warner stepped up in the chase, leading Sunrisers to the eliminator.
RCB’s bowling has been underwhelming. There have been sporadic spells of brilliance, but there weren’t many signs of reliance, as was evident with the constant conveyor belt of changes in the bowling attack. However, their batting has been quite solid as usual. Devdutt Paddikal has had a terrific year, coming to the IPL on the back of consistent performances in the Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments for Karnataka. He has scored 472 runs, leading RCB’s batting charts. Not far behind him is Virat Kohli’s 460 and AB de Villiers’ 398 runs.
Peaking at the right time can often be an IPL cliché, but it often comes to fruition. Sunrisers have just done that. They’ve found a nice balance to both batting and bowling after Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s unfortunate injury earlier in the season. Jason Holder has bridged a gap with his all-round abilities. Kane Williamson is a dependable overseas player at No. 4. Rashid Khan is in good form, having picked up 19 wickets. Here’s a bit of stunning trivia: he is the only bowler in the top 30 in the wicket-taking charts to have an economy rate of under 6 (5.28). There are too many factors going for Sunrisers in this eliminator.
Warner has scored 529 runs, second on the run-scoring charts this season. He made a slow start to the season but he has shown, through several years in the IPL, his propensity to catch up quickly. He has a strike rate of 136 this season, which is indicative of a slightly more watchful method of operation. Even if he scores a quick 40 or so, he could still be Sunrisers’ top batsman considering the nature of surfaces this season.
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