Royal Challengers Bangalore face a must-win clash against table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad at Bengaluru in IPL 2018 on Thursday. RCB have 10 points from 12 games and must win their last two clashes to stay in hunt for a play-off berth.
Even with two wins, RCB may not qualify for play-offs due to inferior net run-rate. So, RCB will have to win it by margin to improve net run-rate.
Sunrisers Hyderabad are already assured of a play-off berth, but would look to try out their reserve bench strength in the marquee clash against RCB.
Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams, prediction of RCB vs SRH clash on Thursday.
RCB won two consecutive matches on the basis of their all-round skills. In the last clash against KXIP, they produced a clinical display to first rout the opposition for 88 and then chased down the target in less than 10 overs. But Sunrisers Hyderabad would be a tough opponents and RCB need to put up their best show to give a tough fight to SRH who had defeated Virat Kohli and his men in the last game by 5 runs. RCB batsmen and bowlers have finally came to party in unison.
If RCB have been brilliant in one game, they have been mediocre in the next. They have been inconsistent in both batting and bowling departments. RCB have posted two straight wins to stay in hunt for play-offs. Another loss would see them move closer towards exit. There is nothing to lose for RCB, but everything to gain if they can give a tough fight to a strong SRH squad and turn the tables on them. RCB must show full intensity like they did in the previous game against Punjab.
They have unarguably the best bowling line-up in the competition. They have defended four scores of 151 and less on the back of their bowling firepower. Their pace units comprising Bhuveshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma and Siddarth Kaul have been bang on with their accuracy and death-overs bowling. They have been given good support by the spin duo of Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan. Their bowling line-up can give strong batting squad nightmare and defend low totals with ease.
Batting too dependent on Dhawan-Williamson pair:
SRH batting is highly dependent on Dhawan-Williamson pair. If the two fail to perform, then the inconsistent middle-order of SRH can come under pressure and self-destroy themselves. The likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Manish Pandey have flattered to deceive so far. SRH need to iron out few weaknesses in their batting line-up before the play-offs.
Key battles to watch out for in RCB vs SRH clash:
AB de Villiers vs Rashid Khan
ABD have been the impact player for RCB, winning few matches for the team with brutal hitting. Rashid Khan had last won the battle against ABD, rattling his stumps with a googly. ABD would be eyeing revenge against Rashid Khan in this return game. Rashid Khan would know ABD would come hard at him as the South African holds the key for RCB in this game.
Statistics: RCB have met SRH 11 times overall, winning just four and losing 6 with one ending in a super-over loss.
Prediction: SRH have already grabbed the top two spots, but they would not release any pressure and go all out to be the No 1 team in the competition. RCB would be more hungrier for a win in this clash as they would stay in hunt for a play-off if they bag a victory. RCB would have home support, playing their last home match at Bengaluru. Our vote goes to RCB.