Bangalore: The Challengers enter the game after narrowly losing the reverse fixture, in Hyderabad, a few days ago. They forced the Hyderabad side to a Super Over, valiantly defending a total of 130 from their first innings. However, even with whirlwind West Indies batsman Chris Gayle at the crease, they failed to match the Sunrisers' score of 20 runs from their Super Over.
The defeat leaves RCB sixth in the table, with one win and one defeat from the first two games. A win against the Sunrisers will be critical tonight, not only to halt the debutants' incredible start of two wins from two games but also provide self-confidence and momentum ahead of the visit of the defending champions, Kolkata Knight Riders.
RCB captain Virat Kohli knows he needs Gayle to click into gear in this home game; the West Indies star can single-handedly destroy any bowling line-up on his day and his form becomes all the more crucial for his side, given the continued absence of South African captain AB de Villiers. Kohli will also be eager to get among the runs.
In the bowling department, Zaheer Khan has yet to regain full fitness, meaning the hosts will likely continue with Vinay Kumar, who finished with 1/27 in the last match. Elsewhere, expect Moises Henrique (2/14) and Jaydev Unadkat (2/24) to retain their places.
The team from Hyderabad are oozing confidence; and in this ultra-short form of the game, a bit of confidence can go a long way. The one concern for captain Kumar Sangakarra, though, will be the fact his batting has yet to come good. Both of Hyderabad's wins have been the result of excellent performances in the field and although that is every bit as important, in a Twenty20 you absolutely do need a reasonably good total, at least, to defend.
Expect fast bowler Dale Steyn (who has 1/37 and 3/11 so far this IPL) to be key to Sangakarra's bowling plans. The South African will have support from Indian seamer Ishant Sharma, who took 3/22 in the last match.