The equation will be simple for Sunrisers Hyderabad when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday – win comfortably and make it to the playoffs.
There is just one IPL 2019 playoff spot remaining and Sunrisers are in the best position to make it to the next stage with one game to go for all eight teams.
Sunrisers are on 12 points with Kolkata Knight Riders but enjoy a markedly superior net run rate. If they defeat RCB with relative ease, Kolkata will be unable to overtake their run rate even with a commanding win of their own against Mumbai Indians.
Sunrisers had a golden chance in their game against Mumbai to jump to 14 points but lost the tense eliminator thanks to Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliance. Even so, they will fancy their chances against Bangalore who are pretty much in freefall.
Virat Kohli has talked about playing with freedom but the fact is RCB are clueless about the way forward as Kohli has proven to be a failure as captain when it comes to IPL cricket for the best part of a decade.
Bangalore’s weak pace attack offers a great chance for Sunrisers’ batting line-up – missing David Warner and Jonny Bairstow – to dig in. Hyderabad don’t have many big names in the batting line-up anymore but it’s too late to fret over it.
Kings XI Punjab re-invested in Nicholas Pooran and he has come good in the last few games, hitting a couple of 40s. Maybe Bangalore need to revisit having hard-hitting West Indian Shimron Hetmyer in the XI even though the southpaw had a disastrous start to life in IPL. Anyhow, what’s there to lose?
SRH: Martin Guptill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson (c), Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed
RCB: Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Heinrich Klaasen, Shivam Dube, Colin de Grandhomme, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal
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