Since headlining the 2016 IPL final four years ago, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore have gone down contrasting paths. Champions that season, SRH have reached the Playoffs all three seasons, in one of which the side finished runners-up. Meanwhile, RCB’s fortunes have gone south, twice bagging with the wooden spoon (In 2017 and 2019) and one finishing sixth on the points-table.
This year, even before RCB underwent their first training session, the memes began flooding the internet with Kohli’s team being at the receiving end of it. But as a fresh season beckons, Kohli has the chance to shut down all his trolls, purely on the basis of the wherewithal he possesses this year. In Aaron Finch and Chris Morris, RCB have managed to secure a couple of wonderful buys at the IPL auction last December and these two along with the likes of promising T20 youngsters sure seem eager to end the rut the team has found itself in.
The Sunrisers have managed to fly under the radar, which promises to bode well for the side. Their captain David Warner has led from the front, winning the Orange Cap twice in the previous three seasons – he has finished as the top scorer in three IPL editions. The year he did not, it was teammate Kane Williamson who scored a mammoth 735 runs. Sunrisers are one side whose players don’t fire only on paper.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: The Sunrisers will return with their most successful opening pair of all time. Jonny Bairstow and David Warner burned up the charts last season with the Australian opener amassing 692 runs at an average of 69.2 and strike-rate of 143.86 before returning home. Bairstow, in his maiden IPL, scored 445 runs in 10 innings and with Warner put on a record 185-run partnership for the opening wicket. The middle order looks a lot more composed in the presence of Williamson, Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar and Wriddhiman Saha. Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem are expected to get a game, while Bhuvneshar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma are likely to be the three pacers.
Probable XI: 1 David Warner (Captain), 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Vijay Shankar, 6 Wriddhiman Saha, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Siddharth Kaul, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 Shahbaz Nadeem
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Aaron Finch and Parthiv Patel will most probably open the batting, followed by the imperious duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers at No. 3 and 4. Devdutt Padikkal is a likely starter with Chris Morris performing the role of a finisher. Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal will tackle the spin department while Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj and Dale Steyn shouldering the fast bowling responsibilities
Probable XI: 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Parthiv Patel (Wicketkeeper), 3 Virat Kohli (Captain), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Devdutt Padikkal, 6 Chris Morris, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Navdeep Saini, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Mohammed Siraj
Stats and Trivia
– Sandeep Sharma needs five more wickets to complete 100 IPL wickets. He has dismissed Virat Kohli six times in IPL.
– Williamson has scored 262 runs vs RCB at an average of 65.50 which is the best among all the active teams in IPL.
– Kohli needs 100 more runs to complete 9000 T20 runs. He will become the 1st Indian to reach the landmark while being the 7th overall after Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Brendon McCullum, Shoaib Malik, Warner and Finch.
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