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IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore renew rivalry

It has been four years since Royal Challengers Bangalore have beaten the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.

cricket Updated: Apr 24, 2018 19:03 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Bangalore
IPL 2018,Chennai Super Kings,Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on MS Dhoni captained Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday.(PTI)

The last time Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Chennai Super Kings, MS Dhoni was still the Indian captain across all formats. It’s nearly been four years since that match in May 2014 and thus, when the two sides lock horns, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, here on Wednesday, the rivalry will be renewed.

Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli will be in an upbeat mood to turn the tables against a side that is winning games from pressure situations. But for that to happen RCB will have to sort out a few issues of their own.

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CSK’s strong batting unit

There’s a reason why the former champions, despite their two-year absence from the razzmatazz league, still comes across as a formidable side and aims to clinch the silverware for the third time. The team has ticked all the boxes in terms of putting together the pieces of jigsaw puzzle. With Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson and Suresh Raina all making a mark of their own, Chennai has hardly put a foot wrong in getting good starts.

The firepower present in the form of Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo and Sam Billings has also contributes when the top order has failed. As a result, the least that the side has scored so far in the tournament is 169 — a challenging total in any T20 game — while there are two 200 plus totals to show as well.

CSK, however, need to sort out their bowling concerns. They have held their nerves well in pressure situations so far, but despite putting big scores on board it must be a concern for Dhoni that the bowlers have somehow managed to defend the totals. Deepak Chahar and Shane Watson, both with six wickets each, have been impressive but the bowling department needs to perform as a unit to squeeze out the opposition.

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Individual brilliance

On the other hand, what seems to be Royal Challengers Bangalore’s biggest problem is their over dependence on a handful of players. If it’s Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in batting, the role reversal happens in the form of Umesh Yadav and Chris Woakes (eight wickets each) in the bowling department.

While Kohli (57.75), De Villiers (53) and Mandeep Singh (46.33) have led the batting charge, Quinton de Kock (22.40) and Brendon McCullum (15.66) have failed to contribute. Quite like Chennai, Bangalore, too, have a similar problem of their bowlers not putting up a disciplined performance.

Yuzvendra Chahal and Umesh Yadav are their most economical bowlers and they’ve been thrashed at an economy rate of 8.41 and 8.6 respectively. With the amount of firepower available in the opposition batting line-up, those numbers are bound to worry Kohli who would want to continue their winning momentum after beating Delhi Daredevils by six wickets in their last game.

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Chances of rain

It’s going to be quite warm on Wednesday (almost nine degrees higher than Tuesday). There were a few spells of showers in the city on Tuesday and the same is expected on the match day as well. Although the Chinnaswamy has a state-of-the-art drainage system that makes resumption of play quicker than expected, a rain-curtailed game will only complicate equations for both sides.

First Published: Apr 24, 2018 18:29 IST