Abu Dhabi: Having secured a berth in the IPL playoffs, the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will look to consolidate their position on the points table when they take on bottom-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here later on Wednesday.
Despite having 16 points, there is still a lot to play for as Kohli’s team will be vying for the top-two finish. The Hyderabad unit, on the other hand, would like to end the tournament on a high note after a season in which they have struggled to find success.
Riding on Glenn Maxwell’s half-century and Shahbaz Ahmed’s match-defining spell, RCB crushed SRH the last time the two teams met at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal have batted with authority at the top, providing brisk starts more often. The solid platform laid by the opening duo has allowed the other batters such as KS Bharat and Glenn Maxwell to deflate the bowling attacks later on.
Maxwell’s redemption has been the highlight of this edition of IPL. Whether it was the two-paced wicket in Dubai or the sluggish track in Sharjah, the Australian never looked at sea against the bowlers.
Eyebrows were raised when RCB acquired the services of the Australian in the auction. Despite a forgetful IPL 2020 season, it is not fair to judge a player of Maxwell’s stature on basis of one or two matches or a season.
Batting at No.5 for Punjab Kings, he could only muster 108 runs in 11 innings in the previous season. The 32-year-old, however, has turned a new leaf this season, demonstrating why he is still the best in the business. He has silenced the critics with several match-winning performances, amassing 407 runs in 11 innings.
Maxwell credits his success to his familiarity with the role he’s been assigned by the RCB. “Coming into RCB they wanted me to do the exact same role like I am playing with Australia,” Maxwell has been quoted as saying.
Another vital cog, Harshal Patel too has taken the challenge of bowling the death overs head-on. He has bowled with control in the death overs. He sits atop the list of highest wicket-takers in IPL 2021 with 26 wickets in 12 innings.
Besides, Yuzvendra Chahal has been miserly in the middle overs. Interestingly, the 30-year-old holds the record for most wickets for a spinner against the Hyderabad unit.