IPL 2019 is all set to kickstart with a clash between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chennai on March 23. The two teams have played some great thrillers between themselves.
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings would love to start their campaign on a winning note. On the other hand, RCB would look to start afresh and target their maiden IPL title.
The match promises some thrilling contests between players of both teams. Cricwizz takes a look at some of the top battles to watch out for in CSK vs RCB clash in IPL 2019.
Shane Watson vs Umesh Yadav
Watson will be playing against his old team RCB who had chosen to dump him after one poor season. Watson then joined CSK and powered them to IPL title in 2018 with a brilliant ton in the final. He would love to have a go at RCB bowlers. He is fresh from his man of the series heroics in PSL.
He will be up against RCB’s star bowler Umesh Yadav who had a successful season with the ball in last year’s IPL. Umesh’s thunderbolts will test Watson’s reflexes.
With veteran Watson in great form, he would fancy his chances against the Indian pacer. Umesh has the knack of picking up wickets in a heap. And if Umesh gets Watson early, then he can make inroads in the CSK’s power-packed batting line-up. Who will win this battle?
MS Dhoni vs YS Chahal
In limited-overs cricket for India, MS Dhoni plots with YS Chahal to pick up opposition’s wickets. Dhoni is a constant source of support for Indian bowlers, especially spinners, behind the wickets. Dhoni has been one of the reasons for Chahal-Kuldeep’s success in limited-overs cricket.
But in the IPL, it will be a different ball game. Can Chahal outthink Dhoni? Will Chahal, who has gained from the wisdom of Dhoni, rattle the CSK skipper with his googlies.
It will be an interesting battle to watch out for. Dhoni may resist the temptation of going after Chahal’s bowling and would instead play the leg-spinner on merit. The master would hate losing his wicket to his disciple.
Virat Kohli vs Imran Tahir
The recently concluded ODI series between India and Australia showed Virat Kohli has a slight weakness against leg-spin bowling as Adam Zampa picked him out twice in five games. Kohli has been fallible to the straighter ball from leg-spinners, failing to read it properly.
Dhoni would have seen Kohli closely in the ODI series and would hand the ball to veteran Imran Tahir as soon as RCB skipper comes out to bat.
But Kohli has scored runs off Tahir in the limited-overs series in South Africa in 2018.
But IPL is a different scenario. With Dhoni guiding CSK spinners from behind the stumps, Kohli would have a tough task at hand. Can Kohli come out triumph against Tahir’s clever leg-spin bowling?
Or, it would be Tahir who will have the last laugh and celebrate Kohli’s wicket down to end of the boundary line?
AB de Villiers vs Lungi Ngidi
AB de Villiers’ success is crucial to RCB’s campaign in IPL 2019. If Kohli and ABD fire in unison, CSK will have a tough day at the field then. ABD who has retired from international cricket would love to make this IPL season memorable. He would be fresh and raring to have a go.
Dhoni would bowl South African bowler Lungi Ngidi to counter ABD’s threats. Ngidi has bowled to ABD at nets in international cricket and would know a thing or two about the batsman’s weakness or how to stop him from creaming the CSK bowling attack.
Once ABD gets going, it would be difficult to stop him. And Ngidi is the best chance for CSK to stop ABD from running away with the match. Will Ngidi triumph over ABD? Or, it will be a 360-degree show again?
Shimron Hetmyer vs Dwayne Bravo
The West Indian was a big success on the limited-overs tour of India last year. He took the Indian bowling attack to cleaners with his big hitting. He struck 106 and 94 in ODIs against India last year. He impressed with his clean hitting. And RCB managed to buy the West Indian in the IPL auction.
With Kohli and ABD, Hetmyer will shoulder the RCB batting line-up. He will be trusted to shore up the middle-order and finish off games for RCB. RCB have suffered last season with a brittle middle-order last year. They will bank on Hetmyer to deliver the goods in the middle-order.
He will be up against his fellow countryman Dwayne Bravo who has been a great servant of Chennai Super Kings. Bravo is second to none in death-overs bowling. And Dhoni likes to use Bravo in the last few overs of the innings to turn the match in his team’s favour.
With Hetmyer most likely to bat in the second part of the RCB innings when Bravo will be bowling in full flow, it will be exciting to watch the battle between the two Caribbean players.
Can the experience of Bravo rattle the youth of Hetmyer? Or, Hetmyer will have tricks on his sleeves to negate the Bravo’s threat?