Desperate RCB hosts upbeat Hyderabad

"We know the scenario and the only way we can give ourselves that opportunity is having the desperation," RCB head-coach Daniel Vettori said ahead of his team's must-win clash against SRH.

RCB has, it appears, finally found its best XI with the inclusion of Moeen Ali and Parthiv Patel   -  Twitter (@IPL)

There are several combinations of results that will still see Royal Challengers Bangalore advance to the IPL play-offs, but one thing is common to all of them: Virat Kohli's men simply have to win their two remaining games.

The task before RCB is thus straightforward, and there is nothing to be gained from pondering various other scenarios. "We're almost playing with nothing to lose," Moeen Ali said in Indore the other night; it is a mentality that has served the team well over the last two games.

First up for RCB is a meeting with Sunrisers Hyderabad at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday; two days later comes a trip to Jaipur. Neither of these fixtures will be easy but RCB will be, as head-coach Daniel Vettori put it, desperate to win.

"We know the scenario and the only way we can give ourselves that opportunity is having the desperation. Virat’s spoken to the team about being desperate," he said here on Wednesday.

That attitude has clearly been visible in the captain. "He plays unencumbered and he plays aggressive, particularly in that Power Play," said Vettori. "When he does that, that has a way of flowing through the rest of the team. When we are almost carefree, that’s when we are at our best."

RCB's wins over Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab were its first two in succession this season. Kohli was in exceptional touch in both games while Umesh Yadav, who appears to have come a long way as a T20 bowler, made a big impact in the Powerplay against Punjab.

RCB has, it appears, finally found its best XI with the inclusion of Moeen Ali and Parthiv Patel. "We tried a lot of different ways and it always wasn’t successful," Vettori admitted. "We like the balance of the team [now] with seven batters and six bowlers. Maybe we found [the right selection] late in the tournament, but hopefully, it works in the next couple of games."

SRH is fresh off a defeat to CSK, a loss that snapped a run of six successive wins, but Kane Williamson's side had already booked its spot in the play-offs at that stage. With a top-two place also confirmed, SRH has little to worry about.

Its bowlers have been largely unstoppable, even if they conceded totals of 187 and 180 in the last two games. “It’s absolutely critical that we have games where our bowling is put under pressure,” said SRH head-coach Tom Moody. “It’s important to have that kind of reality check. I think we are going to face that tomorrow night.”

They may not be the only ones bracing for an onslaught.