After 59 grueling matches in the 9th edition of the Indian Premier League, we have finally have the two teams who will fight it out for the ultimate title on Sunday.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore who had a great second half of the season flew into the final with a victory over the Gujarat Lions in the first qualifier and will face the Sunrisers from Hyderabad who booked a place alongside RCB with the victory over the Lions, for the third time this season on Friday.
SRH lost back to back games against the Daredevils and the Kolkata Knight Riders before entering the knock-out stage. But they managed to get the better of KKR in the first eliminator and the Lions in the second making sure that their good form in the group stage is rewarded with a place in the final.
With two wins in three days, the momentum in now in the hands of the team from Hyderabad who have slowly looked a better outfit as the tournament has progressed.
They have one of the strongest bowling line-ups in the tournament and have shown their depth in the recent games against Lions where they managed to replace Mustafizur Rahman, arguably the best bowler in the tournament with Trent Boult, one of the best in the business in the international scene.
However, they will now face the Royal Challengers Bangalore who are in red-hot form and have won all of their last 4 games on their way to the final.
Playing at Chinnaswamy will only help the Bangalore boys as the last time these two teams met here, RCB managed to set a target of 226 for SRH. However, if anyone can stop the juggernaut that is RCB, it is the SRH bowling line-up making this final one of the most interesting games of T20 cricket in recent times.
As already mentioned, Mustafizur Rahman, who has been the pick of the bowlers picked up a hamstring injury before the game against the Lions and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament. Though Boult is capable of replacing him in the line-up, his inexperience in the current season might hurt the side on the night.
The rest of the team seems to be on a song with Tom Moody, the coach of the side happy with the combination of Henriques and Ben Cutting as all-rounders in the squad. Warner and Dhawan should open the innings while Yuvraj, Hooda, and Ojha, the Indian contingent should be at their best to help the side in their search for the title.
Bipul Sharma, who has been exceptional with the bat in the two eliminators should keep his place in the side for the final.
The last time these two cities met in a final, Hyderabad, then Deccan Chargers ran away with the trophy but this time, it will be an even contest with RCB starting as favorites to go all the way on their home ground.
Here is Sunrisers Hyderabad’s probable starting XI for the Final on Sunday:
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Deepak Hooda, Moises Henriques, Ben Cutting, Naman Ojha, Bipul Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Barinder Sran, Trent Boult.