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The Dubai International Stadium has been a really good batting pitch lately. The average score on the ground was 160 before in the IPL 2020. However, IPL 2020 has proved 160 is still 20-25 runs shorter than an ideal total. Like every season, the most intricate thing about the IPL has been its unpredictability.

It will be Virat Kohli against Mahendra Singh Dhoni this weekend, and the stage is set for two who still haven’t found their rhythm yet. Although comparatively, Royal Challengers Bangalore have already exceeded their performances from last year, Virat Kohli and Co. are still struggling with some issues.

The bowling department is now considered to be enhanced after a couple of impressive performances by Isuru Udana. The better news for the franchise has been the resurgence of ‘King Kohli.’ With AB de Villiers and Aaron Finch firing too, Chennai can be under huge trouble.

However, as far as this edition is concerned, CSK have become their biggest enemy. After three back-to-back losses, the team did exceedingly well against Punjab. Their last game against Kolkata Knight Riders was not bad too until the CSK middle-order was tested. The bowling department did their job exceptionally, the openers set the tone perfectly but yet again it was the middle-order that failed to capitalize.

The question remains is it finally the time that a few batsmen are given an ultimatum? Or it is Bangalore’s turn to expose Chennai’s weaknesses?

Head to Head

Matches: 24, RCB: 8, CSK: 15, N/R: 1

Team News

Chennai Super Kings were in the driver seat for the majority of the game. The bowlers were phenomenal, the openers provided a terrific start but a couple of quick dismissals turned the game upside down for the three-time champions. Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy grabbed the opportunity with both hands and cramped the CSK batsmen.

Shardul Thakur was a huge positive for MS. The bowler has been accurate with his line at the death especially and has enjoyed the last two games in the IPL. With Jadeja not bowling a single over in their previous game, it was evident that the bowling is settled. However, it may be the end of Kedar Jadhav’s IPL 2020 as CSK have other prospects like N. Jagadeesan on the bench.

RCB will look to make it four out of six and that will be a huge statement for a team that barely won any games last season. Things look concrete for Kohli as the openers have done well, AB de Villiers has single-handedly taken care of the middle-order while Isuru Udana and Yuzvendra Chahal has shown their class with the ball.

Chris Morris will be adding to both of RCB’s departments and that too handsomely. So in the end, it is all about how the team performs collectively because that is the key to progress in the tournament. The game against Delhi could’ve been a great one but the team failed to step up their game collectively.  

Pitch and Conditions: The batsmen are expected to enjoy the game as it will be very pleasant out there. The last two games have seen scores reaching 190 and that may worry a team like CSK at the moment.  

The team batting first will have to use the overs well. Proper planning with pin-point execution is expected and a score around 185-190 should be deemed defendable. The team batting second will have to keep calm and try not to spare the loose balls. Anyone who builds his innings slowly will be able to score well.  

Probable XI

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), Aaron Finch, AB de Villiers (WK), Shivam Dube, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Chris Morris, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Isuru Udana.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK): Shane Watson, Faf Du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Sam Curran, MS Dhoni (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja, N Jagadeesan/ Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma/ Piyush Chawla

Key Battles

Faf Du Plessis (CSK) vs Navdeep Saini (RCB)

Faf Du Plessis vs Navdeep Saini  RCB
Faf Du Plessis vs Navdeep Saini

While Faf Du Plessis has been an active contender for the orange cap this season, other CSK batsmen are finding it difficult to perform consistently. Faf Du Plessis is just 14 runs apart from KL Rahul who is the orange cap holder at the moment.

With CSK hugely dependent on him, Faf will have to come up with his leadership skills while batting too. Saini, on the other hand, has had a very mixed season so far. There have been games where he’s hit the deck hard and caused problems for everyone, but there have also been games where he was thrashed hard.

Saini is young and a potentially smart bowler too. With his raw pace, Saini would be looking forward to destruct Chennai’s this season’s pillar.

Virat Kohli (RCB) vs Deepak Chahar (CSK)

Deepak Chahar vs Virat Kohli  RCB
Deepak Chahar vs Virat Kohli

The RCB skipper has been in some great touch recently. Kohli has contributed brilliantly in his recent games but the lack of composure in their last game let Bangalore and Kohli down.

Deepak Chahar has not been at his best, but he has not been the worst either. Dhoni’s tactic of finishing his overs in and around the powerplay is starting to stick as Chennai seems to have gathered their bowling momentum at least.

Decent performances recently by both the players have made the head-to-head more interesting. It will be fun, however, to watch who comes out on top as they face each other in the powerplay.

Prediction

The game should be a close one as both the teams have issues to sort out. Both the teams have players to do the job, but barely few have been consistent. While Kohli has got his mojo back, MS Dhoni still has a lot to prove. Chennai would not want to put the middle-order under pressure situation, but as T20 cricket works, it looks that someone will have to come out strong.

All eyes will be on Chris Morris who will be back, playing his first IPL game of this season. A handy pacer with technique strong enough to hit the balls out of the park, Morris will have to prove his worth as Moeen Ali would be eagerly watching from the dugout.  

The game will depend hugely on the toss as both the captains will have a plan in mind. It will be very interesting to see how the skippers counter each other, whether it will be another CSK shocker or if RCB fails to stick like their last game.

Cricwizz predicts CSK to win the game