For Virat Kohli and David Warner, it’s now up to this competition – a competition where the winner wins everything between Royal Challengers Bangalore and SunRisers Hyderabad at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday, where the winners advance to the IPL 2020 qualifier. 2, as the losers pack their bags and return home, pondering what could have been. Virat Kohli, who will be celebrating his 32nd birthday on Thursday, will be desperate for another chance to claim the elusive IPL trophy, while Warner, with his side in resurgence, is equally eager to continue the winning streak, not just here, but also for two more games.
That in itself is the biggest teaser for SRH. No team in the IPL, including the Mumbai Indians sitting at the table, has ever been able to bring together so many victories. The team with the best winning streak in IPL 2020 would be Kings XI Punjab, with five consecutive wins, and they are not even in the playoffs!
SRH has won three races in the trot, so the law of averages, which has turned out cruel on most sides, is definitely against them.
By that logic, RCB should be happy – they haven’t won any of the competition stages in the past week and beyond.
The Bengaluru squad have lost four consecutive games and are in the playoffs thanks to some regular performances from the other hopeful players, not least Kolkata Knight Riders, and some math to save it.
But then the same law of averages is in their favor.
If you were to take a tactical look at the two sides, SRH is probably a shade better. Both captains like to lead from the front and both have found some key contributors – Devdatt Padikkal for RCB has been a pretty constant, while Wriddhiman Saha has become the new found top gun for SRH.
It is the place of the second opener where the difference is. Josh Philippe has become RCB’s pick, but SRH has Warner, who looks ominous.
Kohli also seems to be coming too early for RCB which is not a good sign. However, this is the time when the skipper must deliver.
If the batting goes deeper, RCB has AB de Villiers, but SRH seems to have more names, in Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson and Jason Holder. That could be a crucial difference.
The bowling is almost identical. Chris Morris is to RCB what Holder has become to SRH, while in the spin division Rashid Khan will be hot after the beat up against MI, while Yuzvendra Chahal is always in the game.
The rest – Sandeep Sharma and T. Natarajan for SRH and Mohammad Siraj and Isuru Udana for RCB, could be mirror images. Whichever of these two duos turns out well can make all the difference.
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