Written by Dale Vos for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad | Tuesday 12 April | Bangalore | 16:30
Tuesday's solitary Indian Premier League match will see the pre-tournament favourites, the Royal Challengers Bangalore welcome the Sunrisers Hyderabad to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Can Chris Gayle and co guide RCB to an opening-day victory or will David Warner and his charges upset the applecart on Tuesday evening? Let's take a look!
To Win Match
Bangalore 11/20| Draw 35/1| Hydearabad 31/20
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Bangalore were rather busy in the latest IPL Auction purchasing Shane Watson for just under $1.5m, Stuart Binny and Kane Richardson for $300,000, Travis Head as well as Samuel Badree to name a few. This to go along with retained players such as Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Chris Gayle, David Wiese, Adam Milne and Varun Aaron makes the Royal Challengers the favourites in the competition.
On the batting front, Bangalore has easily the most powerful line-up in the tournament. Their top four could include Gayle, Kohli, Watson and De Villiers which, safe to say, is more than enough to worry any bowling attack in the competition. The problem for them, though, will be getting all of these power hitters to fire at the same time. In 2015, Bangalore had three batsmen in De Villiers, Gayle and Kohli amongst the tournament’s top six run-scorers which saw them reach the qualifiers, but apart from those three the next best batsman in the side, Mandeep Singh, managed a meagre 157 runs. De Villiers and Gayle have been in shaky form lately and if these two struggle then Bangalore may have to look to less experienced players to perform.
Bangalore’s attack includes two of the fastest bowlers in cricket, Varun Aaron and Adam Milne, both capable of consistently bowling at speeds of 145kph plus. These two are likely to lead the attack in the absence of Mitchell Starc and Samuel Badree who will both miss significant portions of the tournament. Yuzvendra Chahal will be hoping to replicate his excellent season in 2015 when he took 23 wickets at an average of just 18. Other bowlers that can make a difference are Harshal Patel who took 17 wickets last season at a good economy rate and David Wiese who was a surprise hit last season, taking 16 wickets. Shane Watson may also be asked to bowl an over here and there. Kane Richardson is another bowler with a good T20 record who can make an impact.
The biggest problem for Bangalore will be which four overseas players to include in their matchday team. Gayle and De Villiers are likely to be included while the amount of money spent on Watson means he will most likely play a role which will probably be that of opening batsman. That leaves place open for a bowler, if they decide to go that way, which will be one of Milne, Richardson or Wiese. If Watson does play then Wiese is unlikely to be included as Stuart Binny is also an all-rounder option and so that fourth overseas position will likely go to Richardson or Milne. This should leave Bangalore with a side that is well-balanced and in a good position to win their first game of the 2016 campaign.
Like Bangalore, Hyderabad were also fairly active in the 2016 IPL Auction. They purchased Yuvraj Singh, who will miss the first two weeks due to injury, for a crazy $1.05m and Ashish Nehra for $825,000. That is a lot of money spent on two players over the age of 34. They also invested in young Bangladeshi left-arm bowler Mustafizur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Deepak Hooda and Ben Cutting. Players retained include the likes of Karn Sharma, KL Rahul, David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Eoin Morgan, Trent Boult, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kane Williamson. This leaves Hyderabad with and impressive roster of Indian players who can make as big an impact as the overseas players.
Hyderabad’s batsman are some of the best in the world. In their captain, David Warner, they have one of the most feared opening batsman in world cricket. Warner was also the leading run-scorer in last year’s tournament with 562 runs at an average of 43. Dhawan and Williamson are both likely to play a big part in Hyderabad’s season and they will be banking on these two to fire on all cylinders. Morgan and Yuvraj will also be looking to make an impact with the bat, despite Morgan being out of form and Yuvraj being out for the first two weeks. Others to look out for are Deepak Hooda, who has an impressive strike rate of close to 140 in T20 cricket, Naman Ojha and Aditya Tare.
When it comes to bowling, Hyderabad certainly are well stocked. Boult, Cutting, Henriques, Nehra, Kumar, Rahman and Sran are all extremely capable of winning matches on their own. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was their highest wicket taker in 2015 with 18 wickets. Moises Henriques also impressed last season with 11 wickets at an economy of just 6 and an average of a touch over 14. They may be looking for Mustafizur Rahman to bring his impressive World T20 form along with him as he can be a destructive T20 bowler with his impressive off-cutters. Barinder Sran recently made his Indian ODI debut and he will be looking to use that experience for his teams benefit here. Karn Sharma will look to play a big role with his leg breaks and it remains to be seen whether or not David Warner will look to use Trent Boult as he tends to rely on swing of which there may not be much available in India.
Hyderabad have a nice balance of batsman and bowlers. I expect Warner and Williamson to both be included along with Moises Henriques and Mustafizur Rahman whose wily off cutters and slower deliveries may be more effective than Trent Boult’s pace and swing. That being said, Warner may look to go with the more experienced Boult who has bowled well to the strong Bangalore line-up’s batsmen before. Along with the four overseas players, Nehra, Dhawan, Karn Sharma and Deepak Hooda will all have roles to play if they are to see off the powerful hitting that Bangalore possess. Expect Hyderabad’s bowling line-up to consist of Rahman or Boult, Kumar, Nehra, Sharma and Henriques. They will need to make early in-roads into that Bangalore line-up if they are to be successful.
Verdict: Royal Challengers Bangalore 11/20
Bangalore’s batsmen will need to fire but I can’t see them losing this match. They usually start IPL well and I can see this season being no different. On the two occasions in which they have played against Hyderabad at home they have come out on top. Kohli has been in scintillating form lately and I would not be surprised if he carries that form into the IPL. The only issue Bangalore face is which overseas players to pick, but they are all so strong that it may not make a difference which combination they go with. Hyderabad’s bowlers are well experienced but, apart from Nehra and Rahman, most are lacking game time. They may well be slightly rusty going into this game and any bad balls will be severely dealt with by Bangalore’s batsmen. Warner and Dhawan haven’t been in fantastic form either with Australia using Warner in the middle order in the World T20 and Dhawan being dropped by India for the semi-final.
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