The stage is all set for the tenth edition of the cricketing extravaganza Indian Premier League (IPL) to kick off at the Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad. And what better way to flag off the tournament, than by having the finalists of the previous edition battling it out.
SRH went into the 2016 final as total underdogs, having to face a team in RCB who not only had an all-star batting line-up but also home advantage. David Warneras side were not fazed by the occasion at all, going on to win the title in pretty impressive fashion.
Coming into the 2017 season, both franchises will be expected to be among the top contenders for the trophy once again. For the Royal Challengers Bangalore, a matter of redemption awaits as the loss to Hyderabad in the final last year was a bitter pill to swallow.
Meanwhile, having won its maiden IPL crown SRH have tweaked their winning side a little bit. During the auctions held earlier this year, SRH bought two Afghan players Rashid Khan (Rs 4 crore) and Mohammad Nabi (Rs 30 lakh) and this made all the headlines. A lot will be expected from 18-year-old Rashid Khan as he leads the spin attack for the Sun Risers Hyderabad.
As itas the first match of the season, itas a little difficult to predict the eleven as the preferred combinations of the teams are mostly unknown.Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman will miss this game as he is with the Bangladesh team who are facing Sri Lanka in a limited-overs series.Seasoned campaigner Yuvraj Singh also adds to the batting strength of SRH, but the much-talked about middle-order needs to raise the bar, especially in the event of Warner and Dhawan falling short of expectations. Moises Henriques, Kane Williamson, Naman Ojha, Deepak Hooda, and Vijay Shankar are no pushovers and make for a solid line-up.
The SRH bowling is one of the best in IPL. Though the team would be deprived of the services of Mustafizur Rahman for tomorrow’s match, the seasoned Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Barinder Sran are quality bowlers, who can turn the match at any given time.
Royal Challengers Bangalore:
RCB were considered by many as the pre-tournament favourites, but injury-after-injury has seen them lose some of their key players for either some part of the tournament or the entire event itself.
Captain Virat Kohli will miss the first few matches due to a shoulder injury, while AB de Villiers has been ruled out of the first match because of a back problem. This means that Australian all-rounder Shane Watson will lead the side in Hyderabad. While India international KL Rahul has been ruled out for the entire season, talented youngster Sarfaraz Khan is also likely to be unavailable after suffering an injury during a practice match.
Travis Head is likely to feature instead of De Villiers in the line-up while we might see Pawan Negi, Iqbal Abdulla, Sreenath Aravind and Aniket Choudhary battling it out for two spots in the team.
David Warner (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Yuvraj Singh, Deepak Hooda, Moises Henriques, Naman Ojha, Rashid Khan, Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Barinder Sran
Shane Watson (c), Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tymal Mills, Aniket Choudhary