The Eliminator Clash Features Two Of The More Schizophrenic Teams Of IPL 2020:
The Eliminator clash features two of IPL 2020’s most schizophrenic squads. Sunrisers Hyderabad were in the proverbial mid-table quicksand on October 21, as the Royal Challengers Bangalore were running KKR ragged in Abu Dhabi and had apparently plunged one shiny shoe into the First Qualifier. Then the summer of the UAE was on its last legs, and the rough afternoons made way for evenings that were more fun. In the run-in, SRH flicked on a switch and beat each of the other three qualifiers, ending on the right side of another logjam for Net Run Time.
On the surface, David Warner ‘s side seems to be more confident of its footing. Through the last few games, SRH has built up considerable momentum, one of which included a clinical dismantling of RCB at Sharjah. An inspired pick at the end, Wriddhiman Saha, was a revelation and freed Warner from his shackles. Sandeep Sharma has added miles to his credibility as a Power plays slayer and Rashid Khan has been, well, Rashid Khan. Shahbaz Nadeem has built a car ball. Playing against an out-of-form opposition that rarely finds itself in this territory in their fifth straight Playoffs, must feel like a chance begging to be taken.
Yet it is not as if their enemies were well outstripped by SRH. In the first half of the tournament, RCB enjoyed a comparable run and had match winners scattered through their line-up. Virat Kohli could have been said to be in the shape of his life at any point in the last four years. But for him, it was an odd season, with a strike rate of 122 offsetting a total of 460 runs. In the middle-overs, the RCB captain grappled to find the pace and the flaky lower middle-order left AB de Villiers to do most of the heavy-lifting at death.
If RCB is to make some kind of drive, they’ll need to do so right at the top of either innings, including a valiant failed one. They may have a range of drawbacks going into this meeting, but they can all minimise the fleetingness of a T20 contest and the two red-letter names in their line-up. However, at this competition, every knockout game they play will also be shrouded by their history of underachievement. In spite of the dramatic dip in form, RCB seemed to have ended a three-year drought to make the final week of the tournament a content, comfortable outfit. But now they’re up against a side given a new life lease and one that sudden-death cricket faces the least.
When: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Eliminator, November 6, 18:00 Local, 19:30 IST.
Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
What To Expect: With the last five fixtures all taken by the chasing side, the toss at Abu Dhabi will once again be important. Anrich Nortje agreed that in the second half of the first innings, dew had started to set and that is the least that the team batting first could hope to reduce the big toss disadvantage.
SRH won’t tweak a late combination that performed well for them. Their only tactical change was to see Abhishek Sharma play Priyam Garg in order to give Warner a little bit of bowling insurance.
Probable XI: David Warner (c), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Abdul Samad, Priyam Garg/Abhishek Sharma, Jason Holder, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Sharma, T. Natarajan.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB are sweating over Chris Morris’s hamstring niggle, certainly to the point of dehydration. He has not completed the Delhi Capitals game, but in a bowling attack that has unexpectedly lost its sting, he will be dearly required. With his hand injury, Navdeep Saini missed the match but is likely to return for this match. For their flaky middle order, RCB needs reassurance and could carry back Moeen Ali for Isuru Udana.
Probable XI: Joshua Philippe, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris/Isuru Udana, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini/Shahbaz Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
Did You Know?
-The middle-order go-slow of RCB has now begun to affect their completion. In the last four games, they have scored 44/4, 35/4, 27/3 and 49/5 at the death.
-Morris took just 2 wickets at 55 and an economy of 9.43 in the last four games in another microcosm of RCB ‘s troubles.
– Kohli has been dismissed by Sandeep Sharma seven times in the IPL-a tournament record.
– Overall, SRH hold a 9-7 head-to-head advantage over RCB.
What They Said:
“For a few years, I’ve been working on the carrom ball. The delivery of the round arm does not bounce much, but it also depends on where it pits-it stays low if it pitches on the leather and it bounces extra if it pitches on the seam. Everybody has contributed and it is my responsibility to fit in. For the past couple of years, I’ve been playing like this. Shabhaz Nadeem might have only played five matches this season, but he has tricks up his sleeve that he has honed while on the sidelines.
To make the final, we have two games. We have a shot, a chance and that’s what we want as a team. I ‘m sure the guys are going to be excited about what’s ahead for us. With the bat in pockets, we can be more courageous. We could probably have a powerful powerplay with the ball, which is our ability. We’ll be at the right end of the outcome if we execute those things. Virat Kohli would have loved a top-two finish, but it’s not bad to end the drought of the Playoffs too.