Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore have both delivered disappointing campaigns so far, but a late run of results could still see either side sneak into fourth and qualify for the IPL semi-finals.
Thus, with just three games remaining for each squad, this clash has become a must-win contest. Let's take a closer look at the teams ahead of their crucial encounter.
Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad
Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Start time: 4:00 p.m. local time, 11:30 p.m. GMT
Weather: Hmm, interesting one. According to bbc.co.uk/weather, thundery showers are expected around the time this match is scheduled to take place.
Live stream/TV Info: ITV4 (U.K.)
The real story of this clash is how these two expensively assembled batting line-ups, which boast five of the top 12 T20 batsmen in the world between them, are currently in a desperate race for fourth place.
In fact, Hyderabad have won just four games all season, and while David Warner has delivered 375 runs at a strike rate of 132.97, his fellow big guns—Aaron Finch (291 runs at 115.93) and Shikhar Dhawan (234 runs at 117.00)—just haven't been dynamic enough.
With the ball, pace trio Dale Steyn, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Karn Sharma have bowled tightly to take 37 wickets between them, but their opponents have found the other members of the Sunrisers attack too easy to score off.
A key example is Amit Mishra, whose 37.3 overs of spin have proved particularly expensive in going for more than nine runs a time.
Realistically, Hyderabad need to win each of their last three games—and even then, they will be relying on other teams to slip up if they are to progress.
Bangalore are in a slightly better position and will be buoyed by their win over Chennai. That said, their stellar but inconsistent batting line-up means they, too, need to win their remaining games and hope that Kolkata falter.
"Mr T20" Chris Gayle has been disappointing with just 176 runs from seven innings at an unusually slow strike rate of 113.54, and few could have predicted Virat Kohli's poor run of form.
The future India captain was on fire in the first quarter of the year but has contributed only 181 runs from 11 innings at just over a run-a-ball...some way below his career strike rate of 127.
Things are brighter with the ball, though, which is one of the reasons they've won the last two games.
Mitchell Starc's hostility has yielded 13 scalps while Yuzvendra Chahal has emerged as a talent, bowling with composure and control to take 12 wickets from his leg breaks.
When the sides met on 4 May at Bangalore, the home side triumphed thanks to a scintillating knock of 89 off 41 balls from AB de Villiers.
Historically, the sides have contested just three games, with the Royal Challengers winning twice.
Form (Latest Left to Right)
Sunrisers Hyderabad (from): Shikhar Dhawan (capt), David Warner, Venugopal Rao, Manpreet Juneja, Ricky Bhui, Srikkanth Anirudha, Moisés Henriques, Karn Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Darren Sammy, Parvez Rasool, Naman Ojha, Brendan Taylor, Amit Paunikar, Lokesh Rahul, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dale Steyn, Ashish Reddy, Jason Holder, Amit Mishra, Chama Milind, Prasanth Parameswaran.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (from): Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, Nic Maddinson, Vijay Zol, Tanmay Mishra, Yuvraj Singh, Albie Morkel, Sachin Rana, AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Yogesh Takawale, Ashok Dinda, Ravi Rampaul, Mitchell Starc, Varun Aaron, Muttiah Muralitharan, Abu Nechim, Shadab Jakati, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Sandeep Warrier.
Players to Watch
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been outstanding this season, taking 18 wickets in 11 matches at an astounding strike rate of one every 14.2 deliveries. Throw in an economy rate of 6.28, and the 24-year-old, who has played six Tests for India, has even outshone his illustrious teammate Dale Steyn. His best return so far was 4-for-14 to help demolish Rajasthan in Ahmedabad.
One man who has stood up to be counted for Bangalore this season is AB de Villiers. The multiskilled South African has produced a sensational campaign, contributing 343 runs, including three half centuries. A staggering strike rate of over 161.00 also puts him at third in the list of quickest scorers (minimum 10 innings).
RCB look like they might just be hitting form at the right time, and surely Chris Gayle is going to produce a big one at some stage. With this being a must-win game, Bangalore's slightly higher calibre batting line-up gives them the edge.
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