IPL 2020: Kohli, De Villiers key to RCB hopes

Ayaz Memon
Filed on November 6, 2020 | Last updated on November 6, 2020 at 12.27 am
AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. (IPL)

How Kohli and de Villiers perform could determine the outcome

The Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad have one win each in the two matches these teams have played in the league stage of this tournament. While this would suggest honours are even, their respective passage into the playoffs adds a dimension to tonight’s eliminator.

RCB, like DC, were stuck on 14 points for a longish period of time before making the cut. When these two teams met, DC rediscovered their mojo to win comfortably, but not with a wide enough margin to bump off RCB who squeezed ahead of KKR on Net Run Rate.

SRH’s passage into the last four, on the other hand, came somewhat unexpectedly and in spectacular fashion for a team that had looked tepid for the better part of the tournament.

In a must-win match against Mumbai Indians as their final league assignment, SRH turned the tables on the defending champions much to the disappointment of KKR who were left wringing their hands.

Even with MI experimenting with players, SRH were not fancied to win. As it happened, they walloped MI by 10 wickets, leapfrogging over the helpless KKR into the last 4, in fact finishing in third position ahead of RCB.

This fantastic win was actually the third by SRH in a late surge which saw them accumulate important points as well as boost the Net Run Rate. Not a fluke, therefore. In fact suggesting that a team, which had been frustratingly inconsistent for the first half of the season, had found winning ways.

The momentum in tonight’s match is therefore clearly with SRH, and RCB have to find the rhythm, chutzpah and form to stop David Warner’s team from taking one more step towards the title.

Warner has touched blazing form, and he’s not the only one. Wriddhiman Saha has been a revelation as his opening partner, and Manish Pandey has been a steady contributor.

If SRH’s batting kind off fizzles out after Pandey and Williamson, the rich bowling attack make up for it. In fact, it is the bowlers who’ve played a bigger part in sending SRH into the playoffs.

Rashid Khan has been mesmerising, Holder’s used his experience superbly, and the Indian trio of Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan and Shahbaz Nadeem have performed with great intent and skill.

RCB’s biggest issue in the last fortnight has been lack of enough runs from the top order, notably Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Neither has looked out of touch, but have not batted with as much freedom and panache as expected.

RCB may consider bringing back the experienced Aaron Finch for this crucial match, but essentially how Kohli and de Villiers perform in the could determine the outcome.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator

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