A confident Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Wednesday at the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
The battle between RCB's AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell with SRH spinner Rashid Khan could be decisive.
RCB pacer Harshal Patel's contest with SRH's middle and lower order will also be an interesting affair. A buoyant Patel, who took five wickets against Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener, will be raring to go again in the death overs. On Tuesday, he told the media how he is relishing the new-found responsibility.
SRH, who lost their last match narrowly to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), will need to start well. A couple of early wickets against KKR had set them back and even though Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey tried their best, they fell short.
SRH have used an interesting tactic this time. Up until last season they found success largely thanks to captain David Warner and Bairstow's opening partnership. In the previous game, they let Wriddhiman Saha, who had played some brilliant knocks towards the end of the previous season, open along with Warner and Bairstow came in at No.4. SRH will be concerned about their fast bowling. Both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma went for too many runs against KKR.
Devdutt Padikkal will probably return to the top of the order for RCB. Padikkal was rested from the previous game following his recovery from COVID-19 and in his absence, RCB opened with captain Virat Kohli and Washington Sundar, who failed to get going. The return of Padikkal, who was in great form in the Vijay Hazare one-dayers, bodes well for RCB. SRH's new-ball bowlers will have to get rid of Padikkal and Kohli quickly if they are to give their spinners some backing and freedom to bowl at RCB's hard-hitting middle order comprising Maxwell and de Villiers.
RCB's spin bowling has been the weak link, unlike SRH, and Yuzvendra Chahal, who is having a poor run of form, will have to raise the bar. Chahal was wicketless against Mumbai Indians and gave away as many as 41 runs at an economy rate of 10.25.