IPL 8: Play-off punchfest between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore

Sunrisers, Royal Challengers go head on as race for top four spot on points table

Hyderabad: The IPL has spurted into the business end and the mercury has shot up manifold. The top half of the points table is cluttered, leaving sides with little margin for error now. The players know that one slip here could be fatal. The boxing gloves are on. Teams are all set to trade blows, some may have to punch much above their weight though.

Surely, the nerves must be jangling. But that’s the beast that IPL is. This is where the Gentleman’s game gives way to animal instinct.

It will be a dogfight when the Sunrisers Hyderabad host Royal Challengers Bangalore — both sides are in contention for a coveted spot in the Play-offs. This could well be a Friday blockbuster, a fight to finish.

Batting wise RCB holds the edge with the likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli in their ranks but the Eagles have some shrewd bowlers in B&B — Bhuvneshwar and Boult — besides Moises Henriques and Karn Sharma who could hoodwink the Big Bats.

SRH coach Tom Moody was all praise for Bhuvneshwar. “To have a bowler who is as effective with the new ball as at the end of the innings is a great asset to any side. His discipline at the death overs has been second to none. We are very lucky to have him,” he said.

Batting wise, the coach refuted claims that Sunrisers depended heavily on openers David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan. “Yes, we have got a couple of star players that are in form. Warner has got the Orange Cap, which is great. I am sure he will want to keep that one.

But I think we have shown over the last five games that it is not a one man show and there are other players who make a contribution. Moises Henriques has made a match-winning contribution, so has Eoin Morgan, and we have got other players — Ashish Reddy and K.L. Rahul — who have come in and played roles at the back end,” Moody said.

They had better watch out for perilous pacer Mitchell Starc though. The hosts would like to believe they have the momentum - they go into the game with three wins on the trot while RCB has suffered a demoralising loss to bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday night. Aussie Moody is quick to pull out his inherent mindgames card.

“RCB are a strong side particularly since they have made the adjustment to their batting order. But as we saw last night they, like anyone, can fall short of personal totals or team totals that need to be chased down. We have played well against RCB at home in the past and we intend to do the same tomorrow night,” he said.

Moody then triumphantly declared that his players were very much in control of their nerves, saying they are “pretty well conditioned to cope up with the pressure of the IPL.” “Every edition of the IPL has been always tense during the closing stages and the last couple of games.

It is really up to me and the rest of the support staff to make sure that we concentrate on the very next game and not look too far beyond that or look at other results.

You can easily fall into the trap of watching other games and hoping this team loses. It is not going to affect our position in the league. We will leave that to the supporters. We have got two games left at home and we want to win them,” Moody said.

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