Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. The two usual suspects have been the ones making the runs for Royal Challengers Bangalore, with the rest struggling to find any kind of form. While Kohli’s efforts have come in defeats, de Villiers bailed RCB out in two tense situations – smashing an unbeaten 90 in their previous match and a 57 against Kings XI Punjab.
Their opponents at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday, however, have had different match-winners in their four wins so far. Without being heavily dependent on an individual, Chennai Super Kings had at least one batsman step up in each victory. What looked like a bowling-heavy team with eight bowlers during their first game, is now a well-rounded side with eight batsmen, including a number of finishers to do the job.
Both RCB and CSK seem to unleash their best and the worst in the death overs. They are the best batting sides and the least effective bowling units in this critical period. While CSK have scored at 12.12 and conceded at 10.89, RCB’s numbers are 11.24 and 12.86 respectively. In the match against Delhi Daredevils, RCB let them score 57 runs in the last four overs after having kept the run-rate to 7.31 until then.
Bowling woes aside, RCB also have a batting line-up to be concerned about. They have tried three opening combinations in five games – Quinton de Kock being the only constant – and have had just one 30-plus partnership for the first wicket. Their opening stand lasts 10.6 balls on average, which indicates they have not survived even two overs on an average this season. None of the RCB batsmen apart from Kohli and de Villiers have made a 50-plus score: Mandeep Singh’s 47 is the best of the rest.
In the news
CSK legspinner Imran Tahir, who missed the previous match because of illness, said on Twitter that he was feeling well and was “all set” for the game.
The likely XIs
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Manan Vohra 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Mandeep Singh, 6 Corey Anderson/Colin de Grandhomme, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Mohammed Siraj/Kulwant Khejroliya, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Sam Billings, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Deepak Chahar, 10 Karn Sharma, 11 Shardul Thakur
CSK could save Dwayne Bravo to stop de Villiers. In T20s, Bravo has dismissed de Villiers three times, giving away 101 runs in 59 balls.
RCB could use the legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal against the in-form Suresh Raina. Against Chahal in the IPL, Raina has been dismissed four times in eight matches. He has scored just 79 runs in 57 balls.
Both the teams are likely to field unchanged XIs. CSK’s strategy to play Ambati Rayudu at No. 4 had paid off; Tahir, although up for selection, might be left out considering he has had a middling tournament so far.
Stats that matter
While MS Dhoni boasts an average of 61.8 at the Chinnaswamy, Raina has scored only 156 runs there in nine innings.
Kohli’s tally of 706 runs against CSK is his highest against any team. While he is only 18 short of 2000 runs at the venue, Kohli needs 10 runs to overtake Raina as the top run-scorer in the IPL over 11 seasons.
Although the record between these two sides in Bengaluru is tied at 3-3, the last two encounters did not go well for RCB – they scored 154 both times and lost.
No doubts about this: Kohli and de Villiers would be obvious picks, considering their records at home. Kohli has three centuries and de Villiers has 11 50-plus scores in Bengaluru.
Deepak Chahar has the best economy rate during Powerplay for Super Kings this season: 7.50. He has conceded just 98 runs in 13 overs in this period, and also took three wickets at an economy of 3.75 to deny Sunrisers Hyderabad a win on Sunday.
“It feels like a dream. Even when I was with RPS and when Dhoni wasn’t the captain, he supported me a lot. I was thinking if he’d pick me in the squad for CSK. He’s a very different person. When a person like him gives you confidence then then it’s obviously good for me.” – CSK fast bowler Deepak Chahar on captain MS Dhoni