After Mumbai Indians trounced Delhi Capitals to enter their 6th IPL final yesterday, the focus now shifts on today’s Eliminator clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi.
The equation of the Eliminator game is simple, the winner progresses to meet Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 and the loser goes home. The winner of Qualifier 2 goes to the final. Both SRH and RCB know what is at stake. Both teams are coming into this game with different results in previous fixtures. While RCB is coming into this game on the backs of 4 consecutive loses, SRH have won their last 3 games, beating RCB in of those fixtures at Sharjah.
SRH have flipped the switch and are playing like a side that has nothing to lose. RCB will be under the pump to win as this could be their chance to proceed to the next round. Since the IPL playoffs format changed in 2011, only one team has managed to win from third or fourth spot and that is team is SRH. David Warner led SRH had won the 2016 IPL season from 3rd position so they do know what it takes to win a title from that stage. Three games will be played and each one of them is a knockout game.
RCB on the other hand, will be looking to find the right combination. RCB will be concerned about Chris Morris as he suffered a hamstring niggle in RCB’s last game against DC. He is crucial for them with both bat and ball. Navdeep Saini had missed that match due to a hand injury but is likely to return tonight. Bangalore will look to bring back either Isuru Udana or Moen Ali to help with their middle and lower order issues.
SRH on the other hand are unlikely to make any major changes. There could be a chance of Abhishek Sharma returning to side for Priyam Garg. Wriddhiman Saha is a big revelation for SRH this season. Saha entering the squad has helped David Warner play like the old David Warner of 2009. Being a knockout game, SRH will look to play fearlessly. Sandeep Sharma will be key for SRH again with the new ball. His record against Virat Kohli is impressive having dismissed Virat a record 7 times, something that both players will keep in mind going into encounter.
With the match being played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, it is significant as the last 5 games were won by teams chasing here. If dew doesn’t set in then the team chasing will be at a severe disadvantage.