Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore gear up to face each other in the eliminator at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
After a one-sided affair in the qualifier one between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, the focus shifts on the eliminator. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will be facing Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the eliminator on November 6. The winner of the eliminator will face Delhi in the second qualifier later this week.
SRH and RCB had to fight until the last league game to qualify for the playoffs. SRH had to beat top teams in the final three league games to finish third in the table. They come into this game on the back of a dominating ten-wicket win over Mumbai. Meanwhile, RCB suffered a dip in form during the second half of the season. They had enough wins and a better net run-rate to finish fourth. Virat Kohli’s men will be looking to get back to winning ways on Friday after suffering defeat against Delhi in the last league game.
David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha are clicking as an opening pair at the right stage of the season. The former is gaining consistency in his batting, while the latter has adequately replaced Jonny Bairstow in the lineup. The middle-order has assured batsmen in Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson. However, there are no consistent big hitters down the order. SRH’s top order can take any bowling unit to cleaners on their day, though.
RCB has been facing problems with acceleration during middle orders. Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, and AB de Villiers have been scoring runs, but the rate of their scoring has been slow in the past few games. RCB will have to pace their innings better to get the better of SRH’s brilliant bowling lineup.
In the bowling department, RCB is sweating over the fitness of Chris Morris. The South African all-rounder has provided fine balance to the team since returning from injury in the middle of the league campaign. If he fails the fitness test on Friday, then RCB will have to rely on Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Mohammed Siraj to come up with wickets at the crucial junctures of the innings. The spin duo has been economical this season, but Siraj has been inconsistent with his bowling.
SRH’s bowling unit has played a big role in bringing them back into this tournament as they were staring at the exit at one point. Jason Holder has been crucial in middle overs with his variations while Sandeep Sharma has been providing a breakthrough in the powerplay. Rashid Khan strangles opposition with his tight bowling. It is a formidable bowling unit that can create problems for the best batsmen in the game.
RCB has suffered disappointment in the past during the knockout games, so Kohli and his men will be finally looking to bring joy to fans. However, they face a big hurdle in Warner’s resurgent team that has the qualities to win the tournament. Considering the balance of both sides, it is likely to be an enthralling encounter on Friday.
By Kiran Thakare