History against RCB in Hyderabad

Royal Challengers need to win against hosts Sunrisers

History against RCB in Hyderabad

 Something’s got to give when play-off spot chasing Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad go head-on at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in an intriguing IPL clash here on Friday.

Locked in an intense mid-table slugfest that appears to go down to the wire, both RCB and SRH would be gunning for nothing less than a victory as a defeat will leave them with a lot to do when they play their respective final league games on Sunday.

With SRH sitting on 14 points and RCB just one point behind, both teams know a victory will help them take huge step towards the knock-outs while a defeat could mean a crippling blow.

However, SRH could not have asked for a better opposition at such a crunch time with history completely loaded in their favour at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. The Sunrisers have not lost to the Royal Challengers at this venue over the last two seasons and even in their old avatar as Deccan Chargers, they had lost just one game way back in the inaugural edition in 2008. This for a stadium that was considered unlucky for home teams -- India included.

Good fortune has also not been a great ally for the Royal Challengers this season with weather playing havoc with three of their matches. They were left cursing their luck when the game against Rajasthan Royals was abandoned due to rain just after they had amassed a massive 200/7.

Rain threatened to steal away points for a second straight match against Kolkata Knight Riders but was eventually kind enough to allow a 10-overs-a-side game in which RCB managed to squeeze through. Rain reduced their last game against Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday to another 10-over shoot-out in Mohali but this time they couldn’t cross the line, a defeat that has simply heaped more pressure.

Having said that, RCB can definitely look forward to breaking the streak at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. Their ‘Big Three’ comprising Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have been firing on all cylinders over the last fortnight with both Gayle and de Villiers notching up breathtaking centuries. Skipper Kohli has not been far behind, playing ideal foil while the two went about hammering the opposition bowlers.

Bowling also appears settled and with left-arm pacer S Arvind blending seamlessly into the set-up since his opening match against Kings XI Punjab on May 6, Kohli has options unlike the start of the tournament where everyone went for plenty.

Sunrisers, who beat RCB in the opening leg at Bengaluru by eight wickets, appear too reliant on the dashing opening duo of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan. Moises Henriques has struck fine form lately but beyond them, the batting appears weak with hardly anyone having impressed in a big manner this season.

Bowling has looked good and they will have to step up again if they hope to contain the explosive Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers.

The Sunrisers have won both the home matches played at this venue this season so far and with the Royal Challengers generally found wanting here, the hosts definitely would have their tails up.

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