Royal Challengers Bangalore v Sunrisers Hyderabad
Monday May 30, 12:30am
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Rewind almost a month and things looked pretty grim for pre-tournament favourites Bangalore. They had won just two of their first seven fixtures and were trading as high as 23.00 to take out the trophy.
However they came home with the wettest of sails, winning six of their last seven games to finish second then performed another impressive comeback against the Gujarat Lions in Qualifier 1 to progress straight through to the final.
In that match an excellent spell by joint leading wicket-taker Shane Watson (4/29 off 4) restricted the Lions to a modest 158, however RCB’s reply started disastrously, slumping to 5/29 with the dangerous Chris Gayle and previously infallible Virat Kohli both back in the sheds.
However the Royal Challengers’ other batting star AB de Villiers hit a stunning 79 off 47, receiving wonderful lower-order support from Stuart Binny (21 off 15) and Iqbal Abdulla (33 off 25) to guide RCB home and into their third final. Bangalore will be hoping that it’s third time lucky after previous finals defeats to the Deccan Chargers in 2009 and Chennai Super Kings in 2011.
Hyderabad also started relatively slowly, dropping their first two games before a run of seven wins in eight saw them top the ladder with four matches to play.
However with only a solitary win against cellar-dwellers Kings XI Punjab from those final four games, they slumped to fourth spot and just managed to sneak into the finals.
But their playoff form has been clinical, suffocating Kolkata Knight Riders in Wednesday’s eliminator by 22 runs before timing their chase of Gujarat’s 7/162 to perfection.
In Friday’s second Qualifier David Warner played another outstanding innings with his unbeaten 93 off 58 balls aided only by a Bipul Sharma cameo of 27 not out off only 11 balls. It was the ninth time in 16 matches that Warner has top-scored for the Sunrisers this season and the skipper shapes as a key figure in this final.
However also vital to the Sunrisers’ chances is their highly-accomplished bowling attack which should regain Mustafizur Rahman from a hamstring complaint at the expense of Trent Boult.
Without Mustafizur, spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar starred against Gujarat, taking 2/27 off his four overs while Ben Cutting continued his improved form with ball, picking up 2/20 from three overs.
M Chinnaswamy Stadium
RCB get the advantage of playing the final at home, a ground at which they have won five from eight matches this year including their past three. The Chinnaswamy has been typically high-scoring with an average first innings total of 5/195, while no score under 200 has been successfully defended.
- Bangalore have won seven of their past eight matches, including their last five straight.
- Bangalore have won four of five matches when batting second.
- Hyderabad have won six from eight matches when batting second.
- The team batting second has won five out of eight matches at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
- David Warner has top-scored for Hyderabad in nine out of 16 matches.
This season’s IPL final presents us with a classic clash of styles as Bangalore’s prolific batting line-up go head-to-head against Hyderabad’s varied and disciplined bowling attack.
There’s no doubt that RCB are in rare form and with the added advantage of playing at home it’s no surprise that they are favourites, however their price looks a shade short, especially given the influence of the toss.
While the side batting first won both fixtures between these two sides earlier in the year it’s clear that both prefer chasing and the record at the ground also suggests that the side batting second have a distinct advantage.
Also as a I mentioned in the preview for Qualifier 2, knock-out games are more often won by good bowling than good batting so while Bangalore and their power-packed batting unit are in formidable touch, I’m prepared to take on their starting price although given that their XI is laden with match-winners such as Kohli, Gayle, Watson and de Villiers, I’ll also be looking for an opportunity to trade out and lock in some profit.
Additionally it’s very hard to overlook the form of Sunrisers captain David Warner. Warner has 779 runs at an average of 59.92 and strike-rate just shy of 150 for the tournament, top-scoring in nine of Hyderabad’s 16 matches this season.
Warner has struck eight half-centuries and only been dismissed in single-figures once throughout the competition. Also, unlike their opponents, Sunrisers don’t have a star-studded batting order so competition is not quite as fierce. Therefore I’m also happy to side with the combative Australian opener to top-score for the Sunrisers one last time.