It might be the IPL’s fiercest rivalry, but if there ever was a case of contrasting fortunes, it’s CSK vs RCB. The teams from the southern part of India have had wildly different seasons so far. Chennai Super Kings sit on top of the table, winning seven of their nine matches. RCB, conversely, have lost seven of their nine games and sit at the bottom of the table. It’s safe to say then that today’s match in Bangalore is of little consequence, when it comes to the IPL table.
The defending IPL champions ran roughshod over RCB’s batting in the opening game of IPL 2019 in Chennai. Virat Kohli’s men crumbled like feta cheese as Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir feasted on RCB’s batsmen, picking three wickets each. RCB were bundled out for just 70, a target that Chennai chased in 17 overs.
The RCB faithful will sure be hoping that something similar does not go down at the M Chinnaswamy stadium tonight. The head-to-head record does give some hope to the home side as RCB have won three of seven against CSK at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. This is infinitely better than Bangalore’s one win in eight at CSK’s home.
Interestingly, RCB are heading into this match after a close win over KKR at Eden Gardens. CSK, on the other hand, lost to Hyderabad in their last encounter. It should, however, be noted that Chennai were without their inspirational leader, Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the loss to SRH.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Probable XI): Parthiv Patel (WK), Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Akshdeep Nath, Moeen Ali, Heinrich Klaasen, Pawan Negi, Dale Steyn, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini
Chennai Super Kings (Probable XI): Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar
Virat Kohli vs Imran Tahir
Fresh off scoring his career fifth IPL century, Virat Kohli will be raring to go in this game. The Indian captain is in fine nick and is currently fourth in the Orange Cap race, with 378 runs. Kohli has smashed two fifties and a century in IPL 2019 so far.
He will, however, have his work cut out as he’ll be up against an in-form Imran Tahir. The South African spinner has shown his capability in picking up important wickets. Case in point, the win over KKR where he dismissed the dangerous Andre Russell.
Tahir will have to bring his A-game to dismiss Kohli, arguably the best batsman in the world. Baiting the Indian captain into making a mistake would probably be the best option for Tahir. The challenge for the South African will be to limit Kohli’s runs, where MS Dhoni will have to be prudent with the field placing.
Yuzvendra Chahal vs MS Dhoni
There’s no doubt that CSK missed Dhoni in their loss to SRH last time out. He is an anchor who helps CSK’s middle-order in contributing positively to the team’s score. In Dhoni’s absence, the middle order was unable to put up runs. This was one of the factors for their loss.
With Dhoni back in the squad, the Super Kings will be rejuvenated. This means that it could be a tough day for Yuzvendra Chahal. The spinner has consistently picked up wickets for the troubled RCB franchise, with his tally at 13 currently (third-best in the IPL). He’s also maintaining a decent economy of 7.71.
Bangalore will have to rely on Chahal to get a breakthrough, especially against Dhoni who’s been splendid with the bat. This is to offset the ineptitude of its other bowlers in containing the opposition’s run-making (we’re looking at you, Mohammed Siraj).
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The head-to-head records suggest that M Chinnaswamy Stadium is not as favorable to CSK as the MA Chidambaram Stadium is. Still, the Super Kings are our favored team for this one, simply because of the way they’re performing. And yes, Bangalore’s terrible form and infamous inconsistency doesn’t help either.
Expect CSK’s bowlers to again wreak havoc on RCB’s batsmen which increases the pressure on Kohli and co. to set a competitive target or chase down one. They might have scored over 200 against KKR but keep in mind that KKR’s bowlers have taken the least number of wickets in IPL 2019. With the exception of Kohli and AB de Villiers, RCB’s batsmen will struggle.
All in all, it should be easy pickings for Chennai tonight.
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