Southern derby

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 May 2018 10:24:57


 

PUNE,

(PTI),

THEIR batsmen are in top form but Chennai Super Kings would look to plugging the bowling loopholes when they take on a struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore in a key IPL game between the southern rivals, here on Saturday. The Virat-Kohli led RCB, who edged out Mumbai Indians by 14 runs in their last game, will be eager to avenge their five-wicket defeat at home against the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Super Kings, who too will be keen to swiftly get back into the winning mode after suffering two defeats in their last three games.

For the star-studded RCB, the clash is a must-win encounter if they has to stay alive in the tournament and qualify for the play-offs.While RCB are in the fifth spot, having won three of their eight matches, CSK are still in a comfortable position in second position with six wins from nine games. The yellow brigade seems to have settled down well in its adopted home and has lost only to the Mumbai Indians here after shifting base after their first game in Chennai. But that comprehensive eight-wicket defeat against MI on April 28 followed by the six-wicket hammering by the Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday night has shown chinks in the CSK armour, especially in bowling.

The Chennai batsmen are on song and most are among runs with Ambati Rayudu, Australian Shane Watson, West Indian Dwayne Bravo, skipper Dhoni and Suresh Raina contributing when the team needed. Rayudu, especially, has batted well both as an opener and at number four, scoring 391 runs so far.If CSK decide to continue with South African Faf Du Plessis and Watson at the top, then Rayadu will again bat down the order. Dhoni, who remained unbeaten on Thursday, has reminded his critics that he is not past his prime and if he hits those towering sixes again on Saturday, it will pose a danger to the RCB attack.

Chennai bowlers had been generally impressive with Shardul Thakur at the top. But in their defeats against MI and even on Thursday, the bowling attack could not defend the scores put up by their batters and appears to be missing the services of injured Deepak Chahar.The pacers and the spinners led by veteran Harbhajan Singh need to play to potential to restrict a devastating RCB batting line-up, spearheaded by Kohli.RCB too have some batting woes to overcome with only Kohli performing consistently, amassing 449 runs in nine matches. They will be eager to put South African batsman AB de Villiers, who has scored 280 runs in six games, back on the field. He has missed out games due to fever.

These two batsmen are crucial to RCB’s hopes. They also require Quinton de Kock (201 runs in 8 games) and Brendon McCullum (122 runs in 5 games), who are yet to play to their potential, to chip in. Even the likes of Mandeep Singh (204 runs in 8 matches) and Kiwi Colin de Grandhomme (45 runs in 3 matches), will need to get going if the CSK bowlers are to be tamed.RCB’s primary headache has been their death bowling as they have leaked runs in this phase.Umesh Yadav (11 wickets) and Yuzvendra Chahal (7 wickets) have stamped their class, but Mohammad Siraj and Washington Sunder (four wickets) have performed below par.

RCB also have the option to play veteran Kiwi pacer Tim Southee in place of his compatriot Corey Anderson.Scores of over 160 have been a regular phenomenon at the stadium in Gahunje on the city’s outskirts and with two strong batting line-ups squaring off, another high-scoring thriller is on the cards. Match starts at 4 PM.

HEAD TO HEAD

Matches: 21

CSK won: 13

RCB won: 7

No Result: 1

IPL FACTS 

Chennai Super Kings beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets when two teams met first time in this tournament at Bengaluru, April 25, 2018.


After losing to Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets at Ranchi on May 18, 2014, Chennai Super Kings recorded five successive victories against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Shane Watson, who scored 2939 runs at an average of 31.60 and a strike rate of 140.95 in 107 innings of 111 matches, needs 61 runs to become the 14th batsman to score 3000 runs in IPL.

Tim Southee needs just one wicket to become 38th bowler to take 175 wickets in T20 cricket.


—S Pervez Qaiser