Hyderabad and Bangalore - two of Indian T20 League’s best batting units – are entirely different groups in their own unique way, with one being a vociferous underachiever, and the other being a bunch of low-profile yet consistent set of players. So when they collide on Monday, September 21, at Dubai International Stadium, sparks are surely expected to fly.
The two teams have always been at each other's necks since their very first meeting in 2013, which took a super over to decide the winner. Since then, both Hyderabad and Bangalore have crossed paths on 15 occasions and the former has come out on top in eight of them, and the latter in six.
A new-look Bangalore, this time around, is gunning for glory after finishing at the bottom last year. Hyderabad will once again count on their opening pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow for a fiery start but things have improved in the middle this season.
As far as their recent form goes, Hyderabad are coming on the back of a solitary victory in their last five games, while Bangalore, carrying much-needed momentum, have three victories in their last five matches.
All eyes on Sandeep Sharma
Sandeep Sharma, a right-arm medium pacer from Punjab, has been one of the Indian T20 League’s most consistent bowlers, having picked more than 10 wickets in each of his last six seasons. Currently five shy of reaching the 100-wicket mark in the tournament, he needs three more scalps to be the leading wicket-taker against Bangalore.
|Sandeep Sharma vs current Indian T20 League teams|
A whopping 22.10 percent (21) of his 95 wickets have come against Bangalore; more than against any other side, meaning that he poses a great threat on Monday. Since 2013, he has been wicketless against Bangalore just once. He has a bowling average of 16.28 against Bangalore, which is the best among all bowlers with min. 250 balls against Bangalore.
And then come the good part; out of his 21 wickets, he has dismissed Virat Kohli six times.
Williamson’s hostility against Bangalore
It remains to be seen if Kane Williamson does get a chance in an already stacked Hyderabad team, but judging by his returns against Bangalore, he sure deserves one. The New Zealand captain has scored 262 runs against Bangalore (second-highest against any Indian T20 League team after Delhi Capitals) in a mere five innings at an average of 65.50. His scores in the last meetings against Bangalore reads:
|Kane Williamson vs Bangalore in Indian T20 League|
|Match 8, Bangalore vs. Hyderabad, 13 Apr 2015||5|
|Match 27, Hyderabadvs. Bangalore, 30 Apr 2016||50|
|Match 39, Hyderabadvs. Bangalore, 07 May 2018||56|
|Match 51, Bangalore vs. Hyderabad, 17 May 2018||81|
|Match 54, Bangalore vs. Hyderabad, 04 May 2019||70*|
The Kiwi skipper has scored 50 or more on four different occasions and that speaks volumes.
Hitting with a strike-rate of 153.22 against his Monday’s opponents, Williamson has well and truly dismissed the notion that he is not an out-and-out T20 player.
Players to watch:
Hyderabad- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is someone who has always flown under the radar. For someone who has picked 133 wickets in nine seasons deserves much more than he gets. Monday, he once again will be the key for Hyderabad if they strike early, given his outstanding record against Bangalore opener Parthiv Patel. Patel has duly struggled against Hyderabadand carries an average of 16.27, which is the worst among all the active teams. And one particular bowler he has always stumbled against is Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
|Most dismissals by a bowler to dismiss Parthiv Patel in Indian T20 League|
The 30-year-old Meerut born bowler has dismissed Patel six times in the Indian T20 League; most by any other bowler in the league. And so, if Hyderabad tend to put a block early on, expect them to count on their marksman.
Bangalore – Virat Kohli
Bangalore have lost their last three opening games of the Indian T20 League, and twice they have been bowled out within 20 overs. In those three games, Kohli has returned with a total score of 37. His overall figure against Hyderabad though is outstanding, having scored 504 in 13 innings. As things stand, he needs just 20 runs more to surpass Shane Watson to become the leading run-getter vs Hyderabad in Indian T20 League.
|Most runs vs Hyderabad in Indian T20 League|
Meanwhile, a win on Monday would make him only the fourth captain to have 50 Indian T20 League wins after MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma. All he needs to take care of is Sandeep Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – who has dismissed Kohli twice in 11 innings.
Stats to watch out for:
1: Parthiv Patel needs one more six to complete 50 sixes in the Indian T20 League.
1: One more six for AB de Villiers will take his tally to 200 sixes for Bangalore.
1: With 1 more wicket, Siddarth Kaul will reach 50 Indian T20 League wickets.
3: Sandeep Sharma needs three more wickets to be the leading wicket-taker vs Bangalore in Indian T20 League. His tally of wickets is 21, only Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh (23) have more wickets than him
4: Dale Steyn needs 4 scalps to complete 100 Indian T20 League wickets.
10: With 10 more maximums, Virat’s tally of sixes in Indian T20 League will be 200, making him the fourth batsman to this landmark after Chris Gayle (326), AB de Villiers (212) and MS Dhoni (209).
It’s always difficult to predict a winner from a match such as this. If things go right, Hyderabad can wreak havoc, but on their day, Bangalore aren’t afraid of chasing big too. For Hyderabad, it all depends on how their openers perform. For Bangalore, the likes of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli need to be able to hang around and fight. Both the teams, in a way, carry a similar fate, but judging by a slightly better bowling prowess of Hyderabad, expect the one-time Indian T20 League winner to edge Bangalore on Monday.
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Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manjunath Kiran