SRH and RCB head into the Eliminator having taken completely contrasting paths to get there. After a mediocre start, Hyderabad registered three consecutive wins, including a ten-wicket triumph against Mumbai in a must-win game, to progress to the play-offs, leaping up to the third position. RCB, on the other hand, tapered off after a bright start, and only just managed to sneak-in despite losing four back-to-back games.
The turnaround for SRH has been engineered following the change at the top of the batting order. The inclusion of Wriddhiman Saha in place of Jonny Bairstow has provided much-needed stability to the batting order as the veteran wicket-keeper has come up with dynamic, game-changing knocks. Skipper David Warner too is beginning to peak at the right time with some typically aggressive innings. Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson complete a formidable top four for SRH, with the inclusion of Jason Holder adding more flexibility to the batting and bowling.
Staying with SRH’s bowling, Sandeep Sharma has been fantastic in the last few games, giving little away and picking up crucial wickets. T. Natarajan has impressed with his yorkers while leg-spinner Rashid Khan has been exceptional with his supreme skills.
Shifting focus to RCB, they will need Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to come good. When the trio have performed well, Bangalore have been impressive. They will be in quandary over Padikkal’s opener partner. Both Aaron Finch and Josh Philippe have failed at the top of the order.
In the bowling department, leggie Yuzvendra Chahal has stood out with 20 wickets. The introduction of Chris Morris has added much-needed versatility to the line-up. Washington Sundar has been consistent as well, doing the job asked of him.
Head-to-Head Record: SRH have a 8-7 win-loss record against RCB. The last time these two sides met, Hyderabad won by five wickets.
SRH Predicted XI: Wriddhiman Saha (WK), David Warner(C), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Jason Holder, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, and T Natarajan.
RCB Predicted XI: Josh Philippe, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (WK), Washington Sundar, Chris Morris, Shivam Dube/ Navdeep Saini, Isuru Udana/ Moeen Ali, Shahbaz Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj, and Yuzvendra Chahal.
The pitch at Abu Dhabi is a competitive one, with something in it for all. The last match here saw DC restrict RCB to 152, and chase down the total with ease.
The temperature is expected to be reasonable, in the high 20s.