While Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) managed to secure their first win of the tournament – against Rajasthan Royals (RR) – Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) hope to put their narrow, controversial defeat against Mumbai Indians (MI) behind them and focus on a confident SRH side. In the first game of the season at Hyderabad, the pitch gave a glimpse of what is in store for the rest of the season – there was grass on it and ball was coming on to the bat nicely, making stroke-making easier. Fast bowlers will be key in this match and especially those who bowl at more than 140 KMPH, will get the most out of the pitch. In fact, the quicks who have bowled at 140-plus have traditionally gotten the best of the batsmen.
Here’s a look at the strike-rates of fast bowlers across different pace. You’ll note that those who bowl at 140-plus fare better.
If we further break it down according to the lengths of the fast bowlers, it is the good length deliveries are doing well across phases of play:
The batsmen struggle to score off deliveries which are bowled at 140-plus. For RCB, Umesh Yadav is someone who clocks 140 on a regular basis and David Warner, especially in this season seems to be a bit rusty against such deliveries. Could it be because he has not faced any bowler with such pace during his one-year ban? Perhaps. In fact, Umesh has dismissed Warner thrice in IPL and twice, he has dismissed Warner off deliveries which were more than 140 KMPH. In the two matches so far, Warner has scored just run-a-ball against such deliveries and more often than not has failed to connect deliveries and as a result has been beaten or wrapped on the pads. Other than Umesh, RCB have Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj and Kulwant Khejroliya, who have the ability to bowl at similar pace.
As far as the spinners are concerned Rashid Khan proved RR that you have to be quick through the air to get the best of the track. In fact, the bowler who bowled at more than 88KMPH got the most wickets (3) in the match, which will perhaps be the way to go for the spinners of this match as well.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar in 2017 was right at the batsmen throughout the match, especially when it came to bowling at the death. He was rated amongst the world’s best in containing the batsmen in the final overs, but the next two years saw him take a downward curve. In the two matches in the ongoing IPL, he has conceded 72 runs from 24 balls at an economy rate of 18. Safe to say, he will be under a lot of scrutiny going into this match.
Where Bhuvneshwar has faltered, his bowling partner Siddarth Kaul has made up for it. In the last two seasons (2017 and 2018), especially in 2018, Kaul was by far SRH’s best death bowler.
Best bowlers at Hyderabad
In 2018, off-spinners (Narine and Mujeeb) managed just a couple of wickets, but kept their run-rate below 7 across all phases of play. While they still could come in handy when it comes to keeping the runs down, they will not particularly be a good option if there is a need to pick up wickets. The right-arm pacers were excellent in the powerplay and the death, while the leg-spinners have a good strike-rate across phases of play in 2018 the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium.
SRH: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Manish Pandey, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Sharma/Basil Thampi/T Natarajan, Siddarth Kaul
For the sake of some extra pace, Sandeep Sharma could make for either Basil Thampi or T Natarajan. Will be a big call if SRH decide to drop Bhuvneshwar, but that is unlikely to happen.
RCB: Parthiv Patel (wk), AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli (c), Umesh Yadav, Moeen Ali, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tim Southee, Navdeep Saini, Shimron Hetmyer, Mohammed Siraj, Shivam Dube
Colin de Grandhomme does not add much to the batting or bowling department. Hence, playing his countryman Tim Southee, who has a bit of extra pace as well will suit RCB.