Virat Kohli will be in focus as Royal Challengers Bangalore look to strengthen their claim for an IPL play-off berth in their must-win match against laggards Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Thursday.
RCB are currently in the fifth spot with 12 points from as many games and face two must-win matches to guarantee their play-off spot.
SRH, on the other hand, are out of the tournament and languishing at the ninth spot with eight points from 12 matches.
Alongside skipper Faf du Plessis, Kohli is one of the top-scorers for RCB but after back-to-back failures — 18 against Rajasthan Royals and 1 against Mumbai Indians — the maestro would be looking to produce his best against SRH and help his side’s cause.
Du Plessis has been leading the side from the front and is in scintillating form, occupying the top spot in run-getter’s list with 631 runs from 12 games at an average of 57.36.
Kohli is the next best RCB batter with 438 runs, averaging 39.81 with six fifties. But unlike Du Plessis, Kohli has not been consistent enough and has struggled with his strike-rate at times.
The other batter RCB would be banking on is Glenn Maxwell, who has made a great impact with his sparkling knocks, which includes five half-centuries.
RCB are high on confidence after a commanding 112-run demolition of Rajasthan Royals in their last game.
Riding on Du Plessis and Maxwell’s back-to-back fifties, RCB posted 171 for 5 and then Wayne Parnell (3/10) led the way in the company of Michael Bracewell (2/16), Karn Sharma (2/19) and Mohammed Siraj (1/10) to bundle out RR for a paltry 59.
On the bowling front, the onus would again be on Parnell, Siraj and Bracewell to deliver the goods.
The last match also saw RCB return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats against MI and Delhi Capitals.
SRH, on the other hand, will play for pride after becoming the second team to crash out of the tournament.
SRH would look to give their fans something to cheer about by registering wins in their remaining two games.
It has been lacklustre outing for SRH this season, both in batting as well as bowling department.
Barring Heinrich Klaase and, to some extent, Rahul Tripathi, no other batter could deliver for the team. SRH were hit hard by the poor form of their skipper Aiden Markram as much was expected of the South African.
Harry Brook showed sparks initially before fading away while Mayank Agarwal was nowhere to be noticed.
Among SRH bowlers, the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the most successful with 14 wickets from 12 games, but he too didn’t look at his best.
Mayank Markande (12 wickets from 10 games) impressed but SRH suffered heavily due to the poor form of Marco Jansen, T Natarajan and Umran Malik.
Teams (from): Royal Challengers Bangalore: Faf du Plessis (c), Akash Deep, Finn Allen, Anuj Rawat, Avinash Singh, Manoj Bhandage, Michael Bracewell, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Siddarth Kaul, Virat Kohli, Mahipal Lomror, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Siraj, Wayne Parnell, Harshal Patel, Suyash Prabhudessai, Rajan Kumar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Karn Sharma, Himanshu Sharma, Sonu Yadav, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Kedar Jadhav.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Aiden Markram (c), Abdul Samad, Rahul Tripathi, Glenn Phillips, Abhishek Sharma, Marco Jansen, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Kartik Tyagi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T. Natarajan, Umran Malik, Harry Brook, Mayank Agarwal, Heinrich Klaasen, Adil Rashid, Mayank Markande, Vivrant Sharma, Samarth Vyas, Sanvir Singh, Upendra Yadav, Mayank Dagar, Nitish Kumar Reddy, Akeal Hosein and Anmolpreet Singh. Match starts at 7:30 PM.