It is that time of the year once again, when a new season of the most decorated Twenty20 (T20) league in the world, the Indian Premier League (IPL), is about to get underway. On Wednesday, after a grand colourful opening ceremony, the reigning champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will take on the runners-up of IPL 2016 Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad. The full-strength SRH squad will be led by the Australian vice-captain David Warner, while an under-strength RCB will be led by his compatriot Shane Watson. This is going to be the first such occasion when two Australian captains will walk out for toss in an IPL season opener. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2017
Watson will be leading the side as team’s regular captain Virat Kohli has been ruled out of the tournament for two weeks. As a matter of fact, team’s star batsman AB de Villiers, who was expected to lead the side in Kohli’s absence, also confirmed on the eve of the first match through a tweet that he will not be available with a back problem. Besides, opener KL Rahul has also been ruled out of the entire season. This, in addition to young Sarfaraz Khan’s unavailability, has left the RCB squad severely depleted.
SRH, on the other hand, have no such injury worries. Apart from their star pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who is away in Sri Lanka on national duty, they have all the players fit and available for selection. The defending champions have been bolstered by the addition of Afghanistan duo of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, who will be making their debut this season. The duo has valuable experience of playing in Indian conditions as it is coming fresh from the series against Ireland being played in Noida, and will look to leave an impression in its maiden outing in the premier T20 tournament.
Both the teams match each other on paper, despite the unavailability of RCB’s top players. With the likes of Watson, Chris Gayle, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Travis Head, Stuart Binny and Yuzvendra Chahal, RCB look solid enough to pack a punch. In addition, they have the English quick gun Tymal Mills as their latest recruit. Mills, who has built his reputation as a T20 specialist, will also look to make a mark in IPL.
SRH, on the other hand, have plenty of seasoned campaigners in Warner, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kane Williamson, and once again look favourite to beat RCB.
The two teams have played each other 9 times in the history of the league. While SRH have won 5 times (including win in a tied game), RCB have won on 4 occasions.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH): David Warner (c), Naman Ojha (wk), Eklavya Dwivedi (wk), Kane Williamson, Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh, Moises Henriques, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mustafizur Rahman*, Tanmay Agarwal, Barinder Sran, Ricky Bhui, Bipul Sharma, Ben Cutting, Ben Laughlin, Chris Jordan, Abhimanyu Mithun, Pravin Tambe, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, Mohammed Siraj, Vijay Shankar.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers *, Shane Watson (c), Virat Kohli*, Kedar Jadhav, Stuart Binny, Iqbal Abdullah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sreenath Aravind, Tymal Mills, Avesh Khan, Samuel Badree, Praveen Dubey, Travis Head, Mandeep Singh, Aniket Choudhary, Adam Milne, Pawan Negi, Harshal Patel, Sachin Baby, Tabraiz Shamsi, Billy Stanlake, KL Rahul **, Sarfaraz Khan**
* – Not available for the tournament opener.
** – Not available for IPL 10
Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT