The time for technique, temperament and focussing on occupying the crease for a long period, is over. For, the tenth edition of the most popular Twenty20 (T20) cricket league—the Indian Premier League (IPL)—is here and its first match is scheduled to be played on April 5. With this change in format, you are looking for impact players, whether they are bowlers, batsmen or all-rounders. And needless to say, a David Warner, Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh, or an AB de Villiers will be automatic choices in your team’s playing XI ahead of a technically correct Cheteshwar Pujara.
However, even in the shortest format of the sport, balance to the playing XI is vital and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) should be mindful of picking balanced line-ups.
Sunrisers (SRH) v Royal Challengers (RCB): Playing XIs for the First Match
The defending champions are among the few teams who have not been hit with injuries to their key players and most of their first-choice personnel.
In fact, for their opening match, SRH can and will probably field eight of the eleven players who featured in the IPL 2016 final against RCB. Another noteworthy aspect of SRH’s line-up is many of their Indian players, in particular, have come into this season having played limited-overs and T20 cricket, more specifically, in the months leading up to the 10th instalment of this lucrative tournament.
Mustafizur Rahman is currently on national duty and has yet to get approval from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for participating in IPL 10. Pravin Tambe and Chris Jordan are two of SRH’s new recruits and this duo will probably make their debuts as well.
Therefore, the likely playing XI for SRH against RCB is as follows: David Warner*, Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Yuvraj Singh, Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha, Ben Cutting, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Chris Jordan, Ashish Nehra, and Pravin Tambe
Actual playing XI for SRH: David Warner*, Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Yuvraj Singh, Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha, Ben Cutting, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Ashish Nehra, and Bipul Sharma
The Royal Challengers, on the other hand, are one of the injury-plagued sides ahead of IPL 2017.
Lokesh Rahul has been ruled out of this season due to a left shoulder injury; Virat Kohli, with a right shoulder injury which he picked up in the Ranchi Test against Australia, will miss the early phase of this campaign; young Sarfaraz Khan is also a doubt now for this season, after he picked up a leg injury during practice; and AB de Villiers isn’t fit for RCB’s opening match against Sunrisers.
With so many of their key players missing, RCB have their backs to the wall at the start of the campaign.
In Kohli and de Villiers’ absences, Shane Watson will lead the side, while Chris Gayle, Tymal Mills and Travis Head should likely be the three of the four overseas players in RCB’s playing XI against Sunrisers.
KL Rahul’s absence means that Mandeep Singh will probably be Gayle’s opening partner. Stuart Binny, with Sarfaraz out with an injury, should take Kohli’s place in the XI. Pawan Negi, RCB’s new recruit, will likely make his debut too.
As a result, here’s RCB’s likely playing XI vs SRH: Shane Watson*, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Travis Head, Kedar Jadhav, Stuart Binny, Sachin Baby, Pawan Negi, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Tymal Mills
Will the underdog upstage the favourite in the first match of IPL 2017?