Crunch game for Royal Challengers, Sunrisers
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Start time 1600 local (1030 GMT)
With another 10-odd games left in the league stages of the IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders have their noses ahead by a proverbial inch but Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad are also in with a chance of finishing in the top four, although the latter will need a little help from the other teams.
With five wins from 11 games, Royal Challengers need to win all their remaining matches and hope that Sunrisers can beat Knight Riders in their next match to smoothen the route to the playoffs. For Sunrisers, a loss to Royal Challengers will draw the curtains on their chances of a playoff spot. If Sunrisers win, they need to keep that form going for the rest of their games and hope for other teams to fail in order to boost their chances.
The teams come to this contest on the back of contrasting form. Revived by Yuvraj Singh's form and AB de Villiers' knack for match-turning innings, Royal Challengers have turned a floundering campaign around with wins over Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings. The form of Sunrisers, on the other hand, seems to have tapered off with three successive losses. Unlike last season, where they had the art of defending small totals down pat, and had a strong home record, they have been pegged back this season by an indifferent bowling attack and a misfiring top order and, much like Delhi Daredevils, have failed to utilise the home advantage.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: LLLWW (completed games only, most recent first)
Royal Challengers Bangalore: WWLLL
Where they stand
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Sixth with four wins from 11 games
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Fifth with five wins from 11 games
An astounding onslaught from AB de Villiers downed Sunrisers Hyderabad the last time the two teams met in Bangalore. A fifty from David Warner had guided Sunrisers to 161 and Bangalore were floundering at 95 for 5 in the 15th over before de Villiers' 89 off 41 took them home in the last over. De Villiers struck eight sixes and took 24 runs off Dale Steyn in the penultimate over.
Watch out for
After an unbeaten fifty at the start of the tournament, Parthiv Patel's form has taken a dip. As the one steady opening batsman, Parthiv's busy style was expected to work as a foil for the more flamboyant Chris Gayle. The pair, however, have an average of 22 and just one fifty-plus stand. While Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers look to be carrying the team through, a strong opening partnership would help lift the team through the next few games.
Tuesday's game will also be a clash of captains, and the challenge before Darren Sammy is altogether tougher. He has been appointed captain for the rest of the season with the team barely hanging on to their chances of qualification. He is captain of a side he hasn't played for regularly this season, his own form has been a worry and outside of the IPL his cricketing career is going through an upheaval. Yet a captaincy change can sometimes also inspire a side, as was the case with Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers themselves, last year.
Stats and trivia
- Royal Challengers have won two of their three matches against Sunrisers so far. The only loss came in a Super Over in IPL 2013
- Royal Challengers have hit 76 sixes in IPL 2014, of which 48 have come off the bats of Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers.
- Shikhar Dhawan and Aaron Finch are the best batting pair [in terms of runs scored] for Sunrisers this season. Together, they have scored 285 runs at an average of 25.9
- Amit Mishra has conceded 21 sixes in this IPL and is joint leader on the list of bowlers to concede most sixes in one season of the IPL. The other bowler at the top is Piyush Chawla, who had given away 21 sixes in the first season
"With guys like Yuvraj it's just about reminding them what they are capable of. And that doesn't have to happen in the nets. That can be over a coffee or taking a walk."
Trent Woodhill, the Royal Challengers batting coach, on how players like Yuvraj Singh find their way back to form
"If we do consider playing him, it would mean we would be playing with three specialist spinners, and we have to have the right conditions to consider that combination."
Tom Moody, the Sunrisers coach, on the team's plans around Parvez Rasool
Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo