Hyderabad will take on Bangalore in the 2020 Indian T20 League’s Eliminator clash in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Both sides ended the league stage on 14 points and finished in the top four thanks to their net run rate. Neither side will want to lose the game as it would mark their elimination from the tournament, but Hyderabad will have momentum on their side, having emerged victorious in their last three matches.
Bangalore, on the other hand, will go into the contest slightly short on confidence, having lost their previous four matches, which included a five-wicket defeat against Hyderabad. However, Bangalore have plenty of game-changers in their ranks and will be hoping that they can rise to the challenge.
A look at the head-to-head between the teams indicates that there isn’t much to separate the two teams. One tied encounter aside, Hyderabad have won this fixture eight times, while Bangalore have emerged victorious on seven occasions. The two meetings between them earlier in the season saw each side win once but here we look at some potential difference-makers and key battles that could determine the winners of the Eliminator.
Yuzvendra Chahal versus Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson and Wriddhiman Saha
Yuzvendra Chahal is Bangalore’s leading wicket-taker this season, with 20 scalps to his name, and is averaging 19 in his last seven matches, having accounted for 10 wickets during that time. He has the second-most wickets by a spinner in the tournament and taken 15 wickets against Hyderabad overall, which is the second-most by a bowler against the 2016 champions and the most by a spinner.
Chahal’s also taken the most number of wickets (7) in Abu Dhabi – the venue for the Eliminator – this season and will be key when it comes to dismissing some of Hyderabad’s top-order batsmen, having enjoyed lots of success against them in the past. If he’s not getting wickets, you can rest assured that he can keep things tight against the likes of Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson and Wriddhiman Saha.
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Yuzvendra Chahal’s record against Hyderabad batsmen
Virat Kohli against Sandeep Sharma
Virat Kohli is second-highest run-scorer against Hyderabad having made 525 runs at their expense and he needs to score just 42 more against to surpass the leading run-getter against them, Shane Watson. The 2020 season has seen Kohli make 460 over the course of the tournament but the Bengaluru skipper will know that he can do much, going by his high standards.
His average of 46 this year isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, however, expectations are always sky high when it comes to a batsman of Kohli’s calibre. He will be eager to deliver when it matters most in the Eliminator but needs to be wary of the threat posed by Hyderabad’s Sandeep Sharma, who has dismissed Kohli more than any other bowler in the history of the Indian T20 League. In 12 innings, Sandeep has gotten rid of Kohli seven times.
Players to watch:
Bangalore – Devdutt Padikkal
Bangalore’s leading scorer with 472 runs, Devdutt Padikkal has reached the fifty mark five times this season. He’s been in splendid touch, especially in Abu Dhabi where he has 212 runs at an average of 53 and a strike rate of 143.24 from four innings. Three of his five fifties have also come at the venue and Hyderabad will need to see his back soon if they want to avoid elimination at the hands of Bangalore.
Hyderabad – Rashid Khan
Hyderabad’s leading wicket-taker with 19 scalps so far, Rashid Khan will be their key man against Bangalore’s high-quality batting line-up. The Afghanistan spinner has the best average (15.57) as well as economy (5.28) for bowlers this year and is among the top three bowlers for dot balls having bowled 153 dots. He’s also got the better of Kohli and AB de Villiers in the past and both batsmen have struggled to score freely against him.
Stats to watch out for:
1: Wicket needed for Sandeep Sharma to be the leading wicket-taker versus Bangalore in the Indian T20 League.
3: Wickets Dale Steyn needs to reach 100 Indian T20 League wickets.
5: Sixes David Warner needs to complete 200 Indian T20 League sixes.
8: Sixes Manish Pandey needs to complete 100 Indian T20 League sixes.
21: Runs Wriddhiman Saha needs to complete 2000 Indian T20 League runs.
Bangalore undoubtedly have the stronger team on paper and should beat Hyderabad if everyone plays to their potential. However, history suggests that Bangalore have struggled to perform to their best in crunch encounters and the Eliminator has all the makings of a high-stakes contest. Furthermore, Hyderabad are on a winning run and seem to be clicking at the right time, which is why they are the most likely to win the Eliminator.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manjunath Kiran