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Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 52nd match of the competition as the Indian Premier League reaches the final few games of the group stage. The match will be played at Sharjah Cricket Ground, Sharjah.

As far as it stands, only Mumbai Indians have confirmed their place in the playoffs while the bottom half teams are not yet ready to give up. Bangalore’s consecutive losses have put them back in the danger zone and this game will play a key role in deciding both the team’s future in the competition.

A win in the remaining two games would guarantee Kohli and Co. finishing in the top two positions but a loss here could cause them serious trouble. Hyderabad will be entering the game with a lot of momentum after a really dominant performance against Delhi Capitals. David Warner looked too threatening in the game and a performance like that would surely give the entire franchise a lot of self-belief.

A batsman like Jonny Bairstow was dropped for the game and Wriddhiman Saha was roped in. The plan worked to perfection as the wicket-keeper-batsman went all guns blazing at the Delhi bowlers, scoring 87 of just 45 balls. Manish Pandey played a supportive innings too while their bowling unit needed just one good game to get their rhythm back and they did, courtesy of Rashid Khan.

Unless Hyderabad display what they did in their last game, their chances of defeating Bangalore will be comparatively less. However, Royal Challengers won’t do any good to themselves either if they performed like how they have been doing in their last two games.

Head to Head

Matches: 16, RCB: 7, SRH: 8, N/R: 1

Team News

Bangalore made a mandatory change in the last fixture as they lost Navdeep Saini, a key pacer in the squad. Dale Steyn was handed a chance again along with Josh Philippe who replaced Aaron Finch and Moeen Ali. While Philippe did decent with the bat, Steyn was far from his best and is likely to be replaced by Isuru Udana in this game.

If Saini is declared fit, he will be included in the XI, replacing Shivam Dube, thereby, Steyn getting replaced by Aaron Finch or Moeen Ali to add an extra batsman. Kohli has been not at his best in the recent games and a lot will be expected from him and AB de Villiers as the team will need at least one of them to stay at the crease until the 20th over.

Hyderabad played as a complete team in the last game. They won’t make any changes hopefully but will also hope that every player steps up to the occasion and keeps the team away from danger. Rashid Khan and David Warner were two players who needed to do what they have been doing consistently in past years and they will need to keep it going.

Pitch and Conditions

The weather is expected to be the same and the sky will also be clear from any danger. The temperature will be in and around the 30-degree mark. The Sharjah pitch won’t be as good as it was in the initial stages of the tournament. The dew will play a considerable role in the later stages of the game and teams would look to benefit from it. A score around 180 is the bare minimum as teams would look to give everything they can for the success of the franchise.

Probable Playing XI

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Devdutt Padikkal, Josh Philippe/Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (WK), Yuzvendra Chahal, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Chris Morris, Navdeep Saini/Shivam Dube, Isuru Udana/Dale Steyn, Mohammad Siraj

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH): David Warner (C), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad, Jason Holder, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan.

Key Battles

Virat Kohli (RCB) vs Sandeep Sharma (SRH)

Virat Kohli (RCB) vs Sandeep Sharma (SRH)

Virat Kohli had a slow start to this edition of the IPL but picked up his form in the middle. His form was very crucial in helping Bangalore achieve a position they are in at the moment but things have not been clicking for the Indian skipper lately.

He got out cheaply in the last two innings he’s played and there’s no one who knows it better than him. Sandeep Sharma was brilliant in the game against Delhi too as he picked key wickets and kept his economy under control. With Virat Kohli struggling in the middle, and considering the unpredictability of the Sharjah pitch, it will be interesting to see how Sandeep Sharma plans his spell.

Chris Morris vs David Warner

Chris Morris vs David Warner

This key battle will be key to Hyderabad too as their skipper has been laying the foundation every time Hyderabad have put a humongous score on the board. His explosive batsman not only gives the batsmen coming after him to be more expressive but also sets the perfect tone for his team.

Chris Morris though will be the perfect candidate who can spoil the party for Sunrisers as his stump-to-stump bowling has helped him a lot. Every bowler has his off days and the Proteas would hope that he doesn’t do anything wrong against the Australian.

Prediction

As we go deeper into the tournament, it gets harder to decide who will win. The week so far has seen some totally unexpected results but the question is how different could it be now? Will Bangalore continue their dismal performances with the bat or will Sunrisers collapse like they did against Punjab.

Both the teams will have to try to keep things simple but at the same time take risks where needed. Apart from the bowling and batting, the game will also depend on how aggressive the sides field as we have seen that both the sides do not boast their fielding side very often.

Cricwizz predicts Royal Challengers Bangalore to win the game.