Bangalore beckons batting giants
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
With campaigns that coughed and spluttered about in the UAE, both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad will have one big target from Sunday's game: a momentum-granting win. Both teams are in the bottom half of the points table with similar figures of two wins in five games, although Royal Challengers are ahead on better net run rate.
At this point, Royal Challengers are also the team with more concerns when compared to Sunrisers. The headliners in their batting line-up have not fired as expected and their last two innings - where they were restricted to 70 and 124 - did not allow a competent bowling attack much room.
Royal Challengers also have the problem of their overseas options not firing, with Chris Gayle admittedly not yet 100% and Albie Morkel's lack of impact with the bat and ball. Unless he's injured, Ravi Rampaul may be a better pick in place of Morkel and given the batting-friendly tracks in India, it may not be a bad idea to give the talented Vijay Zol a chance.
David Warner's sprightly 65 aside, one of the biggest gains for Sunrisers in their win against Mumbai Indians was the innings played by KL Rahul. One of the highest run-getters in the Ranji season, his growing ease in the IPL allows Sunrisers the comfort of an anchor. The form of their captain Shikhar Dhawan and their frontline bowler, Amit Mishra, remains a worry for the side.
Form guide (most recent first)
Royal Challengers Bangalore: LLLWW
Sunrisers Hyderabad: WLWLL
Players to watch
Shikhar Dhawan has gone 13 innings without a fifty-plus score in T20s, his last one coming in the Champions League T20 in September last year. There have been a couple of 30s in this IPL, but against one of the most powerful batting sides in the IPL, he needs to make runs upfront to boost Sunrisers chances of overhauling the hosts.
A stat of 73 runs off 76 balls faced in five games is hardly something you'd associate with AB de Villiers in the IPL. Chris Lynn's spectacular catch aside, his dismissals against Royals and Kings XI Punjab have come through bad shots and Royal Challengers will be hoping a change of form ensues a change of scene.
Stats and trivia
- Royal Challengers Bangalore are third on the list of teams with most 100+ partnerships with 13 stands. Only Chennai Super Kings (17) and Kings XI Punjab (15) are ahead of them.
- Despite being the leading wicket-taker for Sunrisers, Amit Mishra has had two of his worst bowling performances for the side in this IPL - against Mumbai, he conceded 54 without a wicket, while he gave away 56 runs for 2 wickets against Kings XI.
Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo