Big picture — With another 10-odd games left in the league stages of the IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders have their noses ahead by a proverbial inch but Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad are also in with a chance of finishing in the top four, although the latter will need a little help from the other teams.
With five wins from 11 games, Royal Challengers need to win all their remaining matches and hope that Sunrisers can beat Knight Riders in their next match to smoothen the route to the playoffs. For Sunrisers, a loss to Royal Challengers will draw the curtains on their chances of a playoff spot. If Sunrisers win, they need to keep that form going for the rest of their games and hope for other teams to fail in order to boost their chances.
The teams come to this contest on the back of contrasting form. Revived by Yuvraj Singh’s form and AB de Villiers’ knack for match-turning innings, Royal Challengers have turned a floundering campaign around with wins over Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings. The form of Sunrisers, on the other hand, seems to have tapered off with three successive losses. Unlike last season, where they had the art of defending small totals down pat, and had a strong home record, they have been pegged back this season by an indifferent bowling attack and a misfiring top order and, much like Delhi Daredevils, have failed to utilise the home advantage.
Quotes: With guys like Yuvraj it’s just about reminding them what they are capable of. And that doesn’t have to happen in the nets. That can be over a coffee or taking a walk — Trent Woodhill, the Royal Challengers batting coach, on how players like Yuvraj Singh find their way back to form
If we do consider playing him, it would mean we would be playing with three specialist spinners, and we have to have the right conditions to consider that combination — Tom Moody, the Sunrisers coach, on the team’s plans around Parvez Rasool [CYCIPL]