IPL 2016: It’s RCB’s batting powerhouse against SRH’s clever bowling in tonight’s clash for title

Bengaluru:It’s only fitting that after 50 days and 60 matches of almost non-stop, frantic IPL action, the best batting team this season takes on the best bowling team in the final here on Sunday.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore have ridden on a bagful of runs to bulldoze every team that came their way in the latter half of the tournament, while the Sunrisers Hyderabad have relied on their street-smart bowlers to get them out of trouble for the major part of the season. Both teams will hope that their firing unit takes care of the other for one last time.

It doesn’t require a rocket scientist to tell you that RCB have a definite edge. Their batting line-up, especially the top three, can put Bollywood’s Rs100-crore club to shame. It’s blockbuster stuff, and it’s just on paper.
That the RCB are backing their might with the bat once again was seen in the way they went about their last training session on the eve of the final here on Saturday. Each batsman had an extended net session to both pacers and spinners adjoining each other.
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Virat Kohli batted for about 20 minutes in the spinners’ nets. Perhaps thinking that it was his time now, Chris Gayle walked towards the crease. Kohli asked him to stop. He wanted to face one more ball. He played a reverse sweep off Iqbal Abdulla, and missed it completely.
The failed reverse sweep attempt aside, it just showed the mindset that the RCB skipper is in right now. He just wants to bat, he is hungry to keep scoring runs, hungry to add the missing trophy to his glittering cabinet.
That mindset seems to have rubbed off on each of his players, who have been on a juggernaut in the latter half of the season. If Kohli fails, AB de Villiers puts his hands up. With Chris Gayle, there’s always a sense that a big one is around the corner, and both he and RCB would love for it to come in the final. Then there’s KL Rahul and Shane Watson, who have played the support cast with absolute perfection.
Their bowling unit, too, has found its mojo in the last couple of weeks, thanks largely to leggie Watson and Yuzvendra Chahal, who have picked up wickets in bulk lately and are sitting on second and third, respectively, in the Purple Cap list.
However, the biggest weapon that RCB posses is their self-belief. If a team is faced with must-win scenarios in their last four outings and it manages to win each other of them to storm into the final, there is bound to be a feeling that no force in this world is strong enough to stop them. Like Rahul said on Friday, in their minds, they have already won the IPL.
Not just yet, though.
If there’s any bowling attack that can throw a huge challenge to the RCB batting line-up, it’s the SRH’s. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ben Cutting are experts at varying their pace and length, managing to frustrate batsmen with their miserly bowling. Barinder Sran has the knack of picking up wickets, while Trent Boult did a decent job of making up for Mustafizur Rahman’s absence against the Lions on Friday.
Their skipper David Warner is a mixture of Kohli and AB for SRH. He has led from the front and has been their sole consistent performer, while also playing the rescue act many a times, like he did in the eliminator. But it will be imperative for the other batsmen to stand up and deliver if SRH are to win the title. The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Deepak Hooda and Naman Ojha need to fire, or at least string together partnerships, to take some pressure off their captain.
SRH go in as underdogs in their first-ever IPL final, RCB go in as favourites in their third. SRH having nothing to lose, RCB have a third title clash to lose. The reward for either team: a maiden IPL trophy.