The last time these two teams meet was in the final of last season's IPL. The Sunrisers successfully defended 208 against a star filled RCB batting line up.
Fast-forward 10 months and SRH have strengthened their squad by adding the two Afghan stars Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. They do not have number one bowler Mustafizur Rahman available as he is on international duty.
By contrast RCB's top order has been decimated with no strong replacements available. They have lost the promising Lokesh Rahul for the entire campaign. Kohli will be out for the first few games and recently it came to light that de Villiers will also miss the first match.
RCB's one plus point is they have strengthened their bowling with the highly rated T20 bowler Tymal Mills.
The result of these late loses in personnel for RCB caused their odds on Betfair to drift from an early low of 1.75 (implied chance of winning of 57%) to 2.24 (45%). SRH are now deserved favorites at 1.79 and I see no major value in backing either team at those prices.
Only 33% of IPL matches at Hyderabad have been won by the team batting first. I would suggest waiting until the toss and backing the team batting second unless the market reacts violently at this point.
David Warner has been top scorer for SRH 47% of matches he has played in over the last 3 years. He is currently available 3.25 with William Hill to be top bat which looks excellent value.
Given all the injuries my best guess of the optimal sides for each team are:
RCB Suggested best team: 1. Chris Gayle 2. Shane Watson 3. Travis Head 4. Mandeep Singh 5. Kedar Jadhav 6. Sachin Baby 7. Stuart Binny 8. Iqbal Abdulla 9. Sreenath Aravind 10. Yuzvendra Chahal 11. Tymal Mills.
SRH Suggested best team: 1. David Warner 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Moises Henriques 4. Yuvraj Singh 5. Deepak Hooda 6. Naman Ojha 7. Vijay Shankar 8. Mohammad Nabi 9. Rashid Khan 10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 11. Ashish Nehra.
I will now look at each player for each team in batting order.
He has been a superstar opener in T20 cricket since the game was invented and is capable of turning a game in a couple of explosive overs.
However, since a successful CPL campaign where he led Jamaica Tallawahs to take the trophy he has struggled in the BPL and the PSL. He has not scored a fifty since the CPL final last August.
Now he no longer plays international cricket it must be hard for him to get into form. With Rahul out for the season and Kolhi out for the first few matches RCB need Gayle to fire.
Watson has recently been used by franchises he has played for in the middle order. The injury situation means he must now return to the opening berth he had successfully earlier in his career for the Rajasthan Royals.
He batted at 4 for Islamabad United in the PSL and had a couple of useful knocks before his form tailed off.
His seam bowling will be needed to back up Mills and Sreenath Aravind. He picked up 10 wickets in the PSL but was expensive with an economy rate of over 9 runs an over.
He should replace de Villiers at number 3. He is now a regular in the Australian One-Day and T20 side. Recently he scored 31, 4 and 30 in a losing T20 series against Sri Lanka. He missed some of BBL due to international commitments. In that series he played five uneventful innings.
RCB will hope he can bring his form from the Australian One-Day side. He scored a hundred against Pakistan at the end of January.
He has an overall win ratio in 32 T20 league matches of over 60% and strike rate of 140 runs per hundred balls. His rate in the last four overs climbs to over 200. He can also bowl off spin if required.
Mandeep Singh missed last season due to injury but gets his chance back in the team due to Rahul's injury this season. He moved to RCB from Kings XI Punjab at the end of the 2014 season. He has an IPL win rate of over 60% in the matches he has played in since 2014.
He played some useful innings in 2015 including 54 not out to help in the win against the Rajasthan Royals. He played in the Indian T20 side in Zimbabwe last June. He managed a 50 in a small run chase. He did open the innings in that series so if Watson does not want to open he could be an alternative.
He played just 4 games for RCB last season with scores of 8, 9 and 25. He managed 19 and 58 against Zimbabwe last June but has not played for India in T20 cricket since.
His One-Day form for India has been good including 120 from 76 balls in a winning run chase against England in January at Pune. He is in form and could provide the engine for the middle order this season.
He will keep wicket now Rahul is out for the season.
He played 11 matches in RCB's campaign last season. He is a useful striker who managed 151 runs per hundred balls in 2016. He does not play long innings but could help an average total become a good one.
He bowls off spin but is not used very often. He took 2 wickets last season with an economy rate of 5.71.
He is a seam bowler and right handed batsman. Last season he scored an average of just 10 runs an innings at a rate of 162. He took just 1 wicket at an economy rate of 7.9.
He is a specialist spin bowler. He is the start of a long tail for RCB. Last season he was only required to bat twice and managed 37 runs. He took 6 wickets.
He is a pace bowler. Last IPL he got 11 wickets with an economy rate of 7.4.
In 2016 he was RCB's top wicket taker with 21 with an economy rate of 8.17.
He bowled his spinners against Zimbabwe and in the recent T20 series against England. In the final match he took 6 for 25 to win the match and the series for India.
He is the star buy of the IPL auction for RCB. He only plays T20s. He is a fast bowler with great changes of pace. This will be his first campaign in the IPL although he has played in leagues all over the globe. In major T20 leagues he has a win rate of over 60%.
Batsmen score against him at around 120 runs per hundred balls throughout the innings. He is particularly good in the death overs keeping batsmen to around 122 runs per 100 balls.
His batting got SRH to title in 2016. In the last 3 years he has top scored 47% of the time for SRH.
As an opener in IPL he averages 43 runs an innings at a high strike rate of 150. He often gets his team off to a great start striking at 146 in the powerplay (the average is around 120).
He had a great Australian summer and managed a 50 in the third and final test against India. He has been in India with the Test side for around 6 weeks so he will be used to conditions.
While Warner is the dasher Dhawan is the rock at the other end. He started well in 2016 before tailing off at the end of the season.
He strikes at a slower 119 and only at 112 in the power play. This does not matter if Warner is going well at the other end. His steadiness can help SRH build the foundation for big totals.
His recent form for India is a worry. He struggled in the Tests against West Indies and New Zealand and was dropped. He was also dropped from the One-Day side after scores of 1 and 11 against England.
The Australian batting all-rounder was in fine form in the BBL helping the Sydney Sixers to the final. He scored 263 runs with a strike rate of 142. He also picked up a wicket. He scored 56 from 37 balls in a losing cause for Australia against Sri Lanka in January.
Last IPL he only managed 182 runs with a strike rate of 115 but he did pick up 12 wickets with an economy rate of 8.
He missed some of last season due to injury. He ended up with 236 runs from 10 innings with a strike rate of 236. His overall strike rate in IPL matches is 129 which is around par for a middle order batsman.
He recently returned to the Indian One-Day and T20 sides. He scored a brilliant 150 against England at Cuttack in January in a 50 over match. In the T20 matches he scored 12, 4 and 27.
It has been suggest Hooda should bat at 3 but I feel 5 is the place for him. He arrived at SRH from the Rajasthan Royals for the 2016 season. He has a good IPL strike rate of 137. He can also ball some spin.
He is SRH's wicket keeper batsman. He strikes at 120 and averages 12 runs per innings in IPL matches. Last season his form tailed off after a promising start.
He played one T20 match for Chennai back in 2014. He can bowl medium pace and is a right-handed batsman. He averages 20 in domestic T20 matches with a strike rate of 120. He bowls with an economy rate of 8.5.
Nabi is a new signing from the ever-improving Afghanistan team. He is a spin bowling allrounder likely to play ahead of Chris Jordan. He might bat at 7.
He has played in both the PSL and BPL. He has a strike rate in those leagues of 159 and an economy rate of just 7.1 runs per over.
He is another signing from Afghanistan. He is a very exciting prospect for the IPL as a spin bowler. He is rank 3rd in the Cricsq T20 bowling ratings. He played in the BPL last season with an economy rate of just 6.2.
In international T20s he has an economy rate of 6.1. He is particularly effective in the middle overs where batsmen strike at only 94 runs per 100 balls against him. Both Nabi and Khan will plug the only weakness in the SRH team last year, spin bowling.
Last season he was the top wicket taker in the IPL with 23 wickets. His economy rate was just 7.42. His pace bowling was effective all through the innings. SRH need him to perform again this season.
He missed the end of last IPL due to injury. He managed 9 wickets in the 8 matches he played in with an economy rate of 7.77.
Nehra was part of the winning T20 Indian team against England in January. He took 3 for 28 in the second match. His fitness through this season will give SRH an extra seam option when Mustafizur Rahman returns from International duty.
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