RCB test awaits Sunrisers tomorrow
After a relatively easy outing in their Pepsi Indian Premier opener, debutants Sunrisers Hyderabad face a sterner test as they take on a star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore here tomorrow.
Both Sunrisers and RCB are high on confidence going into the match after tasting victories in their tournament openers.
While Hyderabad, who are back in the IPL with a new name, defeated last year's laggards Pune Warriors by 22 runs in a low-scoring match last night, the Bangalore side eked out a two-run win over mighty Mumbai Indians in their first game.
Resold and slightly repackaged, the Hyderabad outfit, however, has some thinking to do ahead of tomorrow's match as there lies several question marks over its batting department.
The untimely injuries to Shikhar Dhawan, who knocked up the fastest Test century on debut against Australia last month, and J P Duminy had jolted the outfit's batting unit.
And it was quite evidently visible against Pune Warriors yesterday as the Sunrisers could only manage 126 for six.
Captain Kumar Sangakkara, Parthiv Patel, Cameron White, Thisara Perera all got starts but failed to convert them into big scores.
But come tomorrow, the Sunrisers will have to put up a more determined batting effort if they desire to carry on their winning run as in Chris Gayle, RCB possesses a batsman who can demolish any bowling attack on his day.
If batting is a weak link, bowling is Sunrisers strong point and they showcased a small demonstration of their strength by defending a small target against Pune Warriors.
The Sunrisers have a varied bowling attack. In world number one Dale Steyn, they have an ace up their sleeve who picked up three wickets against Pune last night.
Steyn was ably supported by lanky Ishant Sharma, Perera and leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who bagged the man-of-the-match award for his 3-19 spell.
RCB, on other hand, would fancy their chances against Hyderabad.
In Gayle, skipper Virat Kohli, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Daniel Christian and A B de Villiers Bangalore has a potent batting unit.
Riding on Gayle's superb 58-ball 92-run knock, RCB evaded mediocrity to post a challenging total on the board against Mumbai Indians.
But their over-dependence on Gayle has been a nightmare for the team in the past and the likes of Kohli, Dilshan and de Villiers will be hoping to share the West Indian's burden.
Gayle batted with one leg against Mumbai Indians after picking up a slight knee injury following a collision with Harbhajan Singh, but he is likely to be fit to play tomorrow.
Even though R Vinay Kumar saved the day for RCB against Mumbai Indians the other day with a three-wicket haul, bowling remains a major concern for the Bangalore outfit.
RCB has been hit hard by Zaheer Khan's calf injury but Caribbean speedster Ravi Rampaul along with senior pros like Muttiah Muralitharan, Daniel Vettori and Murali Karthik, are expected to bolster their attack.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), Abhimanyu Mithun, Abhinav Mukund, Andrew McDonald, Chateshwar Pujara, Christopher Barnwell, Daniel Vettori, Harshal Patel, KP Appanna, Moises Henriques, Chris Gayle, Tilkaratne Dilshan, Mayank Agarwal, Daniel Christian, Karun Nair, Arun Karthik, J Unadkat, Vinay Kumar, Muttiah Muralitharan, Murali Kartik, Pankaj Singh and P Prasanth.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: K Sangakkara (captain), Akshat Reddy, Ashish Reddy, Dale Steyn, Parthiv Patel, Cameron White, Hanuma Vihari, Thisara Perera, DB Ravi Teja, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Nathan McCullum, Ankit Sharma, Anand Rajan and Biplab Samantray, Chrisl Lynn, Darren Sammy, Karan Sharma, Prashant Padmanabhan, Quinton de† Cock, Sachin Rana, Shikhar Dhawan, Sundeep Tyagi, T Sargunam, Veer Pratap Singh.