IPL 2018: Sunrisers Hyderabad seek playoff, Royal Challengers Bangalore survival
The contrast couldn’t be starker when Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) face Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) here on Monday in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.
A win for the home team, table-toppers with 14 points from nine games and a better net run rate than Chennai Super Kings, will all but assure SRH a place in the playoffs. For Virat Kohli-led RCB, with six points from as many matches, a loss would effectively mean an exit from the playoff race.
After RCB’s sixth loss this season, against CSK on Saturday, captain Kohli said such pressure situations bring the best out of them. “We know it’s a tough road ahead. We need to win probably four out of five. These situations bring the best out of us, and I feel positive about the rest of the games,” he said.
Though India’s best batsman might feel positive about the road ahead, it hard to comprehend how his star-studded team landed in this situation in the first place. Year after year, RCB have never lacked the batting ammunition, but they have failed to fire when needed.
This time too they have two very destructive batsmen in Kohli, who has scored more than 350 runs (357), and AB de Villiers (281 runs). But the duo has got little support from Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock or Mandeep Singh.
In the bowling department too, they have Umesh Yadav, who with 13 wickets was on top of the heap after Saturday’s 2/15 versus CSK. He has leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (7 wickets, nine games) for company but Mohammed Siraj, Murugan Ashwin, Washington Sundar and Tim Southee have been rotated as RCB are yet to find a set bowling line-up.
And it is in this department that SRH have excelled. Undoubtedly the best performing bowling line-up in IPL 2018, Siddarth Kaul, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shakib Al Hasan, Sandeep Sharma and Basil Thampi have left their opponents in a daze.
That SRH are on a four-match winning run owes a lot to their bowlers. In the previous match against Delhi Daredevils, however, it was their batsmen who came to the fore in a 164-run chase with Alex Hales and Yusuf Pathan playing the support roles with their ever-consistent skipper Kane Williamson producing another solid knock.
However, the win against DD came in the last over, and it could have gone either way. Chasing big totals still looks to be an issue with SRH and RCB must target this area. Twice they have got 165-plus targets in 2018 IPL (against CSK and KXIP) and they failed both times.