After two successive defeats, the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will be desperate for a win against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Saturday in the Indian Premier League (IPL). A win in this match will be enough for RCB to secure a spot in the playoffs.
While RCB sit at the second place with 14 points, SRH lie at the sixth spot with just 10 points. SRH need to win both their matches left and loads of luck to qualify for the playoffs.
The David Warner-led SRH will be high on confidence after their massive 88-run win over Delhi Capitals (DC) on Tuesday. It was SRH's top-order that fired in unison to put up a huge total (219/2) on the board before their bowlers set the Dubai International Cricket Stadium ablaze as they bowled out Delhi for a paltry 131 runs.
Both Warner and Wridddhiman Saha are in great touch while Manish Pandey, too, has been getting better with each passing game. Meanwhile, Vijay Shankar and Jason Holder, who didn't get the opportunity to bat against DC, need to be more responsible as the onus of the lower middle-order lies on them.
Despite losing experienced pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar midway, their bowlers have clicked collectively to trouble the opponents, filling the void quite decently. They were clinical against DC, especially Rashid Khan (3/7), who has not just got breakthroughs at regular intervals but has also led the entire SRH bowling attack.
On the other hand, RCB are coming after two consecutive defeats against Chennai and Mumbai respectively. Despite boasting of some great firepower in their ranks, they faltered against MI to put a respectable total.
Significantly, RCBâ€™s strength lies in their batters -- skipper Kohli, in-form opener Devdutt Padikkal, AB de Villiers, and Aaron Finch. If any of the them get going, no target or total will be big enough. Also, Josh Philippe, who replaced Finch in the last game, was impressive with his 33.
In the middle-order, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, and Gurkeerat Mann need to bat more responsibly and like the top-order, this trio too, is well-capable of the big hits.
Coming to their bowling, barring Washington Sundar (0/20), the others -- Mohammad Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dale Steyn, and Morris -- were average against MI. They need to pull up their socks as soon as possible as the business end of the cash-rich league is about to culminate.
The last time the two sides squared-off, Kohli and Co. were on the winning side by a 10-run margin.