Hyderabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad are on a roll. With 14 points from nine matches, they are just a win away from clinching a play-offs berth. And on Monday, they face a struggling Royal Challenges Bangalore who are languishing at the bottom half of the table.
The Kane Williamson-led side will start favourites as they are on a four-match winning streak. On the other hand, the Bengaluru outfit is coming back from a poor show against Chennai Super Kings where they went down by six wickets to complicate their chances of finishing among top four.
On Saturday, Before their match against Delhi Daredevils on Saturday, Sunrisers never chased down a target over 150 in the season. But they managed to top the points table, thanks to their bowers who performed consistently. However, the seven-wicket victory over Delhi on Saturday would keep their batting department in good stead ahead of the Monday clash.
While the inclusion of English opener Alex Hales at the top worked well so far, Shikhar Dhawan spent a much-needed time at the crease against Delhi which would boost his confidence. With ever reliable Williamson holding the forte, the middle order of Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan managed to find ways to score runs. In fact, it was Yusuf who got his side home with a 12-ball 27-run knock on Saturday.
SRH bowling department took a beating in the first 10 overs in the last match. But they pulled the things back a bit in the next 10 overs and didn’t let the opposition run away with the game. Comeback man Bhuvneshwar Kumar was impressive in his first three overs while Rashid Khan was at his usual best.
Though there is a chance of entering Playoffs on Monday, SRH skipper Williamson feels that they are not looking at this match from that perspective. “We are certainly not thinking about it at this stage. We want to be improving our performance with each game. If we can control our performances, hopefully that will help us win more games. Each game is very tough and we have seen some close matches throughout the competition,” he said on the eve of the match.
The visitors are coming on the back of a poor batting performance in their previous match against Chennai. They suffered a batting collapse and if not for the half-century from Parthiv Patel and a rearguard action from Tim Southee, the Kohli-led side would have folded up for much low score.
However, the last match results hardly counts for Williamson. “See, T20 is such a format where the previous match hardly counts. They (RCB) have world class batting unit and they want to do well against any opposition. They are a dangerous side on any given day. In fact, all the teams in the tournament are very strong and most of them have lost close matches. We want to give our best,” he added.
The visitors’ bowling is a big worry for Kohli. The likes of Umesh Yadav, Trent Boult failed to deliver. In fact, their bowling has the worst economy in the death overs in the tournament. It is a homecoming for Hyderabad fast bowler Mohammad Siraj, who last season played for SRH.
With slim chances of making it to Playoffs, it is perform or perish for the visitors and that could bring the best out of them.