In what seems to be a repeat of the 2016 IPL final, the Royal Challengers Bangalore will face off against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on the 5th of April at 8:00pm. When these two teams squared off in the final last year, it was the Sunrisers who cam out on top. But now, its a new year and a new season. The teams have met a total of 9 times including the IPL final last year. SRH currently lead the head to head matchups with 5 wins over RCB’s 4.
SRH come into the tournament as the hot favourites and as one of the strongest teams so far. Coach Tom Moody was confident of the teams chances because none of the players have been injured so far. In 2016, the SRH team had a bowler heavy unit and only David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan were there to headline the batting firepower. This year, Dhawan and Warner will once again lead the batting squad. In the middle order they have players like Deepak Hooda, Yuvraj Singh and Naman Ojha. With regard to all-rounders, Moises Henriques and Ben Cutting are the ideal choices. Domestically, Vijay Shankar can prove to be an asset. SRH will miss Mustafizur Rahman due to the latter’s international duties, but are compensated for by Mohammed Nabi. In the spin department, the Hyderabad squad have a choice between Nabi, Rashid Khan and Pravin Tambe. Rashid has an advantage due to his higher ranking. Rashid has taken 40 wickets in 24 matches in this format at an average of 13 and an economy of just over 6. The pacers have always been the backbone of the team, the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Chris Jordan.
Their squad includes Shikhar Dhawan, Naman Ojha, Deepak Hooda, Vijay Shankar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Barinder Sran, Bipul Sharma, Ricky Bhui, Yuvraj Singh, Siddarth Kaul, Abhimanyu Mithun. David Warner, Moises Henriques, Ben Cutting, Mustafizur Rahman, Kane Williamson, Tanmay Agarwal, Mohammad Nabi, Eklavya Dwivedi, Rashid Khan, Pravin Tambe, Chris Jordan, Ben Laughlin and Mohammed Siraj.
The RCB team comes into this match at a disadvantage due to the fact that a number of key players are sidelined by injury. Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and AB De Villiers have been forced to sit out of the tournament. Now, the team is lead by Shane Watson who could possibly promote himself up the order and open with West Indies juggernaut Chris Gayle. In the absence of De Villiers, Travis Head is likely to get the nod. Joining them and adding a domestic flavour is Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Sachin Baby and Stuart Binny. The RCB spin department has players like Iqbal Abdullah and Yuzvendra Chahal. Sreenath Aravind, Aniket Chowdhary and newcomer Tymal Mills, add a dash of pace into the mix. With Mitchell Starc and Sarfaraz Khan also joining Kohli, Rahul and de Villiers in the injury list, RCB have their work cut out for them since they are the worst affected by the injury wave.
Both teams are extremely well balanced this year. Now with the inclusion of Afghanistani players, it adds an interesting twist to the game. The full squad includes Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Aniket Chowdhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Sarfaraz Khan, Sreenath Aravind, Kedar Jadhav, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Tabraiz Shamsi and Avesh Khan.