Bengaluru: Formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore will aim to get their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign off to a winning start when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Tuesday.
The team from Karnataka has never won the title in the past eight editions, but led by India’s Test skipper and hard-hitting batsman Virat Kohli they will aim to get the unfinished job done this time around. In 2009 and 2011, they came closest to the title but let the trophy slip out of their hands on both occasions.
Kohli has been in sublime form lately, especially in the recent World Twenty20 with 273 runs in five matches to bag the Player of the Tournament. The right-handed batsman will hope he continues his good form in the cash-rich T20 League.
Besides Kohli, the presence of swashbuckling batsman from the Caribbean Chris Gayle, Proteas’ AB de Villiers and recently retired Australia all-rounder Shane Watson make a fearsome batting line-up in the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Watson, who played for Rajasthan Royals in earlier IPL editions, was the costliest player in this year’s auction. He was bought for a whopping Rs.9.5 crore by RCB.
With his international duty gone from his shoulders, the all-rounder will aim to deliver both with bat and ball to help the Bangalore team get closer to the quarry in their title hunt.
India’s Sarfaraz Khan, Stuart Binny and Mandeep Singh will also hope to contribute.
RCB will miss injured Aussie pacer Mitchell Starc, but New Zealand’s Adam Milne is likely to lead the bowling attack alongside Kane Richardson, Harshal Patel, Sreenath Arvind and Varun Aaron.
In the spin department, the West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree, who is yet to recover from a shoulder injury suffered during the World T20, will miss the first few matches but India’s young spinner Yuzvendra Chahal will aim to deliver well in the absence of Badree.
Hyderabad’s performance has been a trifle disappointing in the past few seasons despite having match-winners in the squad.
The team, led by Australia’s hard-hitting batsman David Warne, will aim to put aside their poor performance in the past and start afresh on Tuesday against a good and well balanced RCB.
Hyderabad will miss the services of India star batsman Yuvraj Singh who is nursing an ankle injury.
But their batting line-up comprising of skipper Warner, India’s Shikhar Dhawan, England’s Eoin Morgan, Kiwi Kane Williamson and all-rounder Moises Henriques makes a good unit.
India’s veteran pacer Ashish Nehra will add experience to the side alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kiwi pacer Trent Boult in the bowling department.
The prized inclusion of Bangladesh fast bowling sensation Mustafizur Rahman in this year’s IPL auction will add power to the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling department with his clever variations.
Leg-spinner Karn Sharma will lead the team’s spin department.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Kane Richardson, Samuel Badree, Travis Head, Praveen Dubey, Vikramjeet Malik, Iqbal Abdulla, Sachin Baby, Akshay Karnewar, Vikas Tokas, K.L. Rahul, Parvez Rasool, Abu Nechim, Harshal Patel, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Ahmed, S. Arvind, Varun Aaron, Yuzvendra Chahal, A.B. de Villiers, David Wiese, Adam Milne and Chris Gayle.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ricky Bhui, Trent Boult, Moises Henriques, Abhimanyu Mithun, Siddarth Kaul, Mustafizur Rahman, Naman Ojha, Karn Sharma, Tirumalsetti Suman, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Ashish Reddy, Bipul Sharma, Ben Cutting, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Eoin Morgan, Vijay Shankar, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare, Kane Williamson.