Unlike in a season of , IPL offers no real easy, lopsided fixture. It’s just the nature of the sport and the quality – on paper, at the very least – across the 10 teams. Yet, RCB should head to Hyderabad with renewed hope knowing that they take on a side that has struggled for cohesion all season and whose campaign has already come to a disappointing and premature end.
The renewed hope also stems from RCB’s statement win over Rajasthan Royals from three nights ago that hit two birds with one stone for Faf du Plessis’s side – dent a fellow top-four aspirant and gain a massive NRR boost. A win on Thursday will take RCB to 14 points and give them the advantage of knowing what exactly they need to do next to make it through to the playoffs as their last game is the final league game of the season. Long story, short – the ball is still very much in their court.
For all to go to plan, RCB need a bright start with the ball. They have the worst ER in the middle and the death overs but are effective in the first six, having picked the most wickets in that phase this season (30). They could truly dictate terms with consistency in this period as SRH have been shaky starters, with the second worst run rate in the batting PowerPlay, and the least boundary count (85 – 74 fours, 11 sixes). A lot of such numbers for SRH flatter to deceive because of how their overall season has been – massively underwhelming. Head coach Brian Lara has rued the multiple defeats they’ve endured from clearly winnable scenarios, and the fact that the team missed being much higher on the points table. That ship has now sailed, but even when there’s nothing to play for, they could derail RCB’s campaign and strive to avoid the ignominy of earning the wooden spoon