The tournament opener of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 10 will be played between reigning champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and the runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium at Uppal, Hyderabad on Wednesday. While the defending champions come into the game with almost a full-strength squad (only minus Mustafizur Rahman, who is on national duty in Sri Lanka), the RCB squad has been heavily depleted due to injuries. In the first game, they will be forced to take field without their regular captain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan. Shane Watson will lead the team in absence of Kohli. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2017, Match 1 at Hyderabad
Injuries to their key players notwithstanding, this RCB side can still pack a punch and give a strong fight to SRH. During this star-studded tournament opener, there will be a few individual clashes which will determine the outcome of the match. Let us take a look at them here:
Chris Gayle vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar: This clash has been set-up many a time in the past. Chris Gayle, who is a force to reckon with at the top, has invariably been kept quiet by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The latter’s swing has often prevailed over Gayle’s destructive force. On the big day, Bhuvneshwar will once again look to contain and dismiss Gayle early while the latter, who is usually a slow-starter, might look to negate the pacer’s threat early on and then launch his assault.
Rashid Khan vs Shane Watson: The stand-in RCB captain loves to take on the spinners. But Rashid Khan is not going to be an easy bowler to take on. In his brief career, Rashid has impressed all and sundry with his variations and accuracy. No surprises that his truckload of wickets earned him an INR 4 crore deal with the defending champions. The first match nicely sets-up a clash between them and it will be interesting to see how they approach each other.
Ashish Nehra vs Kedar Jadhav: The veteran Indian seamer has been tough to deal with, especially in the death overs. On the other hand, Kedar Jadhav is a death-overs specialist with the bat. Coming in at No. 5, 6 and 7 depending on the match situation, Jadhav possesses the ability to smack the bowlers from the word go. What approach he adopts against Nehra in the tournament opener will be interesting to see.
David Warner vs Tymal Mills: This is going to be one helluva contest! David Warner, the second highest run-getter in last year’s IPL, loves to have the ball coming nicely on to the bat at a great speed. He relishes his duels with the pacers early on, and Tymal Mills, RCB’s latest recruit, is one such pacer. The English quick gun bowls not just at great speeds, but also is bang on the money most of the times. His toe-crushing yorkers and effective slower ones will test Warner in this clash. All in all, this will be a mouth watering duel.
Yuvraj Singh vs Yuzvendra Chahal: Yuzvendra Chahal has emerged as RCB’s bowling mainstay in past few seasons. He has ended as RCB’s leading wicket-taker in the past and his impressive performances have also earned him an India cap in T20Is. He will be up against a rampant Yuvraj Singh, who loves to take the spinners to the cleaners. No contest is over until Yuvraj is in the middle. The young leg-spinner though will look to test Yuvraj with his variations. Yuvraj, on the other hand, will look to stamp his authority. Promises to be a cracker of a duel!