Royal Challengers Bangalore are still in with a shout of qualification for the knockouts of the Indian Premier League. But they have to beat table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday.
Bangalore, who have won five from 12, looked down and out after a torrid campaign but implosions by Kings XI and Kolkata Knight Riders have given them a shot at redemption.
Its hardly an ideal scenario, though, is it? Needing to beat Sunrisers, who have won nine from 12.
Of their three defeats, two were to the Chennai Super Kings who appear to have the Indian sign over their rivals.
In the previous meeting, Bangalore failed to chase down 147. The Sunrisers bowled expertly and squeezed the Bangalore batting, closing out the game for a five-run win.
Considering that result, not to mention the standing of the respective teams, it is a surprise to see Bangalore rated as favourites.
They are no better than 43-50 with Marathon Bet. Sunrisers are 11-10 with Bet365 and it has to be said its an outstanding price.
Perhaps the bookies reckon Sunrisers will be taking it easy having already secured qualification. But that would be to misunderstand the tournament format.
If they top the league their chances of making the final are greatly enhanced. Bangalore will pin their hopes on Umesh Yadav, who razed Kings XIs batting in their last outing.
Yadav took three wickets in the most hostile spell of the tournament so far as Kings were bowled out for just 88. Yadav is rated at 4-1 by Blacktype for top Bangalore bowler honours. It could be a good shout.
The Sunrisers batting is more adept at playing spin than pace and Yadav giving them the hurry up could unsettle them. He may only need two wickets to seal the deal.
Kane Williamson, the Sunrisers skip, is 11-4 with Unibet to top score for his team. He has form.
In the earlier clash Williamson produced one of his best – and quickest – knocks of the season, thumping 56 from 39 balls. Hes not had much to beat all season so is a fair favourite.