Dubai: Virat Kohli, the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain, will be desperate to end their jinx with the Indian Premier League title as they start their campaign in the 13th edition against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Dubai International Stadium today.
The presence of Kohli, alongwith AB de Villiers and now Aaron Finch, tends to tilt the batting strength in favour of Challengers – but records show that alone is not enough to win titles. Sunrisers, despite being little short in star quality, are a well knit side and have an extremely competitive captain in David Warner. The 2016 champions, Sunrisers also enjoy a head-to-head advantage of 8-6 wins against their rivals from the southern part of India.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad’s chase will go down to the wire. The target of 164 runs is not beyond the side that starts with skipper David Warner and Johnny Bairstow. And their performance will determine their success in the game.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s total of 163 was built on the excellent opening wicket partnership of 90, which pivoted around Devdutt Padikkal’s 56 off 42. AB de Villiers provided the final flourish with 51 off 30 balls.
Hyderabad did well to pull RCB back after that initial blitz. Full marks to Warner and his bowlers. Some excellent fielding too, except for that Rashid Khan miss.
RCB has a good bowling pack spearheaded by Dale Steyn. Some early wickets and another cliffhanger can’t be ruled out.