Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sharjah
Pro Tip: As the pitches are slowing down by the day, have a few spinners in your XI along with top-order batsmen since the game is in Sharjah. Spinners have picked up 17 wickets at an economy of 7.39 in the last six games at the venue.
Our XI: AB de Villiers, David Warner, Josh Philippe, Devdutt Padikkal, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Chris Morris, Rashid Khan, T Natarajan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj
Substitutes: Virat Kohli, Jason Holder, Moeen Ali, Wriddhiman Saha
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.
Player availability: No official news on Navdeep Saini (Royal Challengers) or Wriddhiman Saha (Sunrisers) yet.
Captain: David Warner
Warner has shown some terrific intent in the last couple of games. He has looked to take the attack to the opposition from ball one and that’s when he is at his best. He scored 101 runs in the last two games at a strike rate of 187.03. His strike rate against spin in the IPL since 2019 is 154.24 so he should take on the Royal Challenger’s best bowler in the Powerplay, Washington Sundar, and come out on top.
Vice-captain: Rashid Khan
Most teams had looked to play out Rashid Khan in the first half of the tournament, but he has now found a way to take wickets in bundles. His economy is still a staggering 5 in the tournament to go with his 17 wickets at a strike rate of 16.9. In the last four games, he has picked up seven wickets at an economy of 4.31 including a 3 for 7 in the previous game. Given the Royal Challengers’ worry against legspin, Rashid should definitely do well.
AB de Villiers: Though de Villiers has blown hot and cold this season, he has scored 339 runs at a strike rate of 171.21. He should enjoy batting against the Sunrisers, especially at the death given they have gone at 11.66 at the death this season. Also, de Villiers has been at his best at the death with a strike rate of 236.11 during those overs. De Villiers scored a fifty the last time these two teams met as well.
Manish Pandey: Pandey has been in very good touch off late and he is batting at No.3 as well, which gives him the opportunity to face more balls. In his last three innings, he has scored 142 runs, including a match-winning unbeaten 83, at a strike rate of 132.71. Even if an early wicket falls, Pandey has the game to keep going in the powerplay as he has a strike rate of 159.15 during that period and has been dismissed only once in 71 balls this season.
Yuzvendra Chahal: Probably Bangalore’s most bankable bowler. Chahal has picked up at least a wicket in each of the last seven games and overall he has picked up 18 wickets this season at an economy of 7.23. Among all spinners who have picked five or more wickets in the middle overs this season, Chahal has the best strike rate (13.5).
Josh Philippe: Philippe looked good in the one innings he got at the top of the order. He is a promising talent who plays both seam and spin well. In all T20s, he has a strike rate of 141.28 against spin and 135.05 against pace. His preferred position is definitely at the top as he averages 34.75 and strikes at 135.47 as an opener in all T20s.
Mohammed Siraj: Siraj has been fantastic for the Royal Challengers this season, especially when he started bowling in the powerplay. He has picked up four wickets at an economy of 6.57 and a strike rate of 10.5 in the powerplay this season. Five of his wickets in the tournament have come in the last three games, suggesting form is on his side too.
If Josh Philippe is dropped and Finch returns, you could replace him with Virat Kohli. Do keep in mind, however, that Kohli has an average of 16.8 from five innings against the Sunrisers since 2018. So Saha is a better option.
Rashid Khan, though form is on his side, has picked up only five wickets against the Royal Challengers since 2018. So an alternate risky option would be Jason Holder.
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