Royal Challengers were the first side to be knocked out of the running for the playoffs, hardly surprising given that they have spent the majority of IPL 2019 at the bottom of the points table. Virat Kohli has reiterated for the past few matches that his side has nothing to lose and will only ‘enjoy themselves’ in the game, and he was right for all practical purposes. This time, he will be right mathematically too, with Royal Challengers truly having nothing to lose, or gain, for that matter.
This will once again be a contest between the Sunrisers bowling and the Royal Challengers batting. The departures of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, coupled with Vijay Shankar’s tapering off, has meant Sunrisers’ batting wears a thin look – only Manish Pandey is carrying it at the moment. For Royal Challengers, losing Dale Steyn was a big blow, and now they’ll be without Marcus Stoinis too. Navdeep Saini has been impressive in patches, but even with the last game here, they still seem unsure of what their best pace attack is. In contrast, Sunrisers’ bowling has looked in fairly good shape, while Royal Challengers’ batting has been spearheaded, as ever, by Kohli and AB de Villiers.
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Stoinis has left Royal Challengers to link up with the Australian team for their World Cup camp. With him in the XI, Royal Challengers were playing only three overseas players. Without him, they have the option of bringing back Shimron Hetmyer, or giving another go to Colin de Grandhomme or Tim Southee.
Billy Stanlake hasn’t got a game yet for Sunrisers, but his pace and bounce could be useful on a batting-friendly venue. But including him will mean dropping Martin Guptill and an Indian pacer, and probably bringing back Yusuf Pathan to the middle order.Virat Kohli reacts after dropping a catch BCCIPrevious meeting
Centuries by Bairstow and Warner were followed by Mohammad Nabi’s 4 for 11 as Sunrisers trumped Royal Challengers in style. Both Bairstow and Warner are no longer there, but Royal Challengers will no doubt remember that exchange, and will want to exact revenge – for pride, if nothing else.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Kane Williamson (capt), 5 Vijay Shankar, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Abhishek Sharma, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Basil Thampi, 11 Khaleel Ahmed
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 Virat Kohli (capt), 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 Shivam Dube, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Given Royal Challengers’ opening combination of Kohli and Parthiv Patel, it might be a good idea for Nabi to take the new ball for Sunrisers. This year, Nabi has bowled ten overs in the Powerplay for an economy rate of 4.5 – the best in IPL 2019 (with a minimum of ten overs). His numbers against left-handers are also striking, with an average of 11.5 and an economy rate of 4.5. With Parthiv taking on the aggressor’s role for Royal Challengers and Kohli preferring to play himself in, the introduction of Nabi could stifle Royal Challengers in the Powerplay. Parthiv’s own numbers against offspinners are among his weakest – his strike rate is just 73.7 and he averages only 7.
Royal Challengers’ run rate in the middle overs since IPL 2018 is 7.6, the lowest among the eight teams. They are particularly vulnerable against spinners, scoring at just 6.6 against them in the middle overs. Can Hetmyer provide the middle-overs thrust they need? Hetmyer’s returns against spin in this IPL haven’t been encouraging but, on the flip side, he’s not had too many opportunities either. If he comes off, he could provide the cushion that Kohli and de Villiers seem to perennially lack.Stats that matter
This will be Parthiv’s 200th T20 match.
Kohli is six runs away from completing 4,000 runs as a captain in the IPL.
Sunrisers have won four of the last five meetings between the two sides, and hold an 8-5 edge overall.