A South Indian derby it is for the IPL 2016 final, after the Sunrisers Hyderabad, courtesy a David Warner special, got the better of the Gujarat Lions in Qualifier 2 in Delhi on Friday. RCB vs SRH promises to be an absolute cracker, a match that should give us plenty of runs – when is that not the case when RCB play, and you add Warner to the mix, it is almost guaranteed – and give the fans at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru plenty to cheer about.
While the Royal Challengers Bangalore zoomed straight into the final with a win over GL, SRH had to take the longer route, beating KKR, first in the Eliminator, before seeing off the challenge of the Gujarat Lions on Friday.
That long route can work both ways – you either end up a little tired, and as a result, not quite up to the mark for the IPL final, or you come with plenty of momentum and the confidence that two wins in a row, during a do-or-die situation, gives you.
SRH will, naturally, hope it is the latter, and there is little doubt that the players will still be buzzing after that Warner innings got them home in a tense encounter against an unlucky GL. The Sunrisers Hyderabad will hope most of the luck sits in their camp for this final in Bengaluru, because the odds are stacked up against them.
RCB are a team in red-hot form, having won five matches in a row, their two premier batsmen –Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers -- look near unbeatable and on top of that they will be playing at their home ground, with 30,000-40,000 fans waving red flags and cheering their team on from ball one to ball 240.
The way RCB are playing at the moment – and their bowling hasn't been too shoddy either – they are the big favourites to lift their maiden IPL title, but in Warner, SRH have a batsman capable of single-handedly winning them a match, much like he did against GL.
But, the Sunrisers cannot bank on their captain alone to dig them out of a hole again. If there ever was a platform to showcase your skills, the IPL final is it.
Yuvraj Singh should be pumped up to play against his former team, and with the small dimensions of the Chinnaswamy, the stage is perfectly setup for a six-hitting masterclass from the left-hander.
Shikhar Dhawan needs to show why he should stay the first choice limited-overs opener for India, while Deepak Hooda must prove that there is more to his game than just promise.
The bowling of SRH looks pretty good, but with RCB's improving considerably and their batting the best in the league by some distance, the edge certainly lies with the home team.
Kohli always relishes the big occasion, while De Villiers is considered the best batsman in the world for a reason. Chris Gayle is due a big one, and nobody likes the spotlight better than the big man from Jamaica, so the SRH bowlers, with Mustafizur Rahman, hopefully, to return from injury, better bring their A-game, or else this could be another match where RCB make a total in excess of 200, much like they did when the two teams met at the Chinnaswamy in the league stages, earlier this season.
IPL 2016 final schedule: RCB vs SRH.
Date: Sunday, May 29.
Time: 8 p.m. IST (3.30 p.m. BST, 10.30 a.m. ET).
Venue: Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
TV listings: India: Sony Max, Sony ESPN, Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN HD. UK: Sky Sports 1. Middle East and North Africa: OSN Sports Cricket. USA: ESPN. Canada: Sportsnet. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport. International (Rest of the world): Cricketgateway.