Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on already-qualified table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in a must-win Indian Premier League encounter here on Thursday with their play-offs chances hanging by a thread.
After registering successive victories over Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, the Virat Kohli-led RCB are a rejuvenated unit while SRH have been the team to beat this season, having won nine matches out of 12.
RCB are still languishing at the second last position on the table, while SRH are on top of the table with 18 points.
RCB lost seven of their 12 matches so far but the recent turnaround have rekindled hopes of a possible shot at the play-offs albeit some other results also going their way.
Kohli and ace South African batsman AB De Villiers are RCB’s key players as far as the batting in concerned.
The pair have combined to pile up nearly half of RCB’s total runs this season but the side needs bigger contributions from the likes of Moeen Ali and Corey Anderson.
Kohli has led from the front with 514 runs in 12 games. De Villiers (358 runs) is next to him, although he has played two games less than the Indian captain.
RCB’s bowling is spearheaded by India pacer Umesh Yadav who has looked in inspired form this term. Umesh has delivered for the team, taking 17 wickets so far.
Coming to the away side, SRH depend quite a lot on opener Shikhar Dhawan (369 runs) and skipper Kane Williamson (544 runs) for inspiration.
Williamson has been a top leader since David Warner was ruled out of the IPL due to his role in the ball tampering incident.
The New Zealand captain would look to consolidate the team’s top spot and ensure a top-two finish at the end of the league stage.
Apart from Dhawan and Williamson, Yusuf Pathan (186), Manish Pandey (189) and Shakib Al Hassan (166) have also chipped in at crunch situations for SRH.
The former champions’ bowling has been their strength with the likes of Siddharth Kaul (13 wickets), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (8), Sandeep Sharma (8), leg-spinner Rashid Khan (13) and Shakib (12) adding a lot of variety to their arsenal.