By Our Sports Bureau
BANGALORE:David Warner, the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain, called right and surprisingly elected to bat against an unchanged Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL final, with a thick cloud cover over the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Warner did so knowing fully well he would have the services of Mustafizur Rahman, the Bangladesh left-arm pacer, who missed Qualifier 2 against Gujarat Lions because of a hamstring niggle.
Trent Boult was left out as a result. “We felt our strength is bowling,” Warner explained. “We know they are a fantastic chasing side. They have set the benchmark, they didn’t start well but we know what they are capable of. For us, it’s about coming here and playing with a smile on our faces to try and negate the crowd.”
Virat Kohli, Warner’s opposite number, was equally pleased despite losing the toss. “Had I known, I wouldn’t have come out to toss,” he joked, indicating he was more than happy to chase. “Both teams are backing their strengths. Ours is to chase and theirs is to defend.
It should be a cracking contest. When we had a knockout situation where we had to win four out of four, we decided we won’t look at opposition anymore. We didn’t expect to finish second, but net run rate gave us the push. We have to start afresh here though.”
By sticking to the same line-up that beat Gujarat Lions in Qualifier 1, Royal Challengers also reposed their faith in Iqbal Abdulla, who has only been sparingly used at the Chinnaswamy because of the short boundaries. Varun Aaron, generally the team’s go-to option at home, missed out as a result.
Neither Royal Challengers nor Sunrisers have won the IPL trophy yet. Royal Challengers, first under Anil Kumble and then Daniel Vettori, lost both their previous finals, in 2009 and 2011. The farthest Sunrisers made before the final in 2016 was a playoff appearance in their inaugural season, in 2013.