Date: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012.
Venue: M. Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore.
Time: 20:00 (14:30 GMT)
Royal Challengers Bangalore, ideally, should be looking for vengeance when they take on Chennai Super Kings. They lost the last match bizarrely from a winning position — after Virat Kohli’s bowling in the last but second over gave it all away.
Their captain Daniel Vettori was a worried man then, but over the weeks lot has changed. Bangalore has won their last three matches. Their star batsmen — de Villiers, Gayle and Dilshan — are in excellent form, and this is exactly what separates the two teams. Chennai’s batting has revolved around their South African export Francois du Plessis. The opener who is their top run-getter has scored 302 runs from his seven matches at an average of 43.14, the batsmen who follow, according to aggregates, are Raina (138 runs from 7 innings at 19.71) and Dhoni (132 runs from 7 innings at 26.40).
Those who consider batting to be the most crucial aspect of T20 cricket must be cursing the fact knowing that CSK ranks a point ahead of RCB, at number five, albeit on net run rate, on the points table. Indian skipper MS Dhoni, who also leads CSK, should be given credit for being strategically ahead of his Bangalore counterpart. One must believe that it’s because of the leadership difference that Chennai has won almost lost matches and Bangalore has lost from winning positions.
Players to watch out for:
Chennai Super Kings
du Plessis- The South African has comfortably ruled the sub-continental pitches and has done it with enviable consistency. Against RCB’s bowling attack which hasn’t yet lived up to the expectations, the opener is expected to fire again.
Dwayne Bravo- Thanks to the IPL, Bravo is a known face in India now. With much experience under his belt, he has made the move from Mumbai to CSK this year, and he is carrying on from he had left. As an electrifying fielder, explosive batsman and a good enough bowler, he is an asset.
Ravichandran Ashwin- The Indian off-spinner has lacked spark this season. Unlike earlier editions of the IPL where he would top the wicket-takers list, Ashwin has been able to pick only three wickets from his seven games. But he showed some positive signs in his last match. We know there’s no lack of effort.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
AB de Villiers- The South African is undoubtedly the most complete player in the world today. He has all the shots in his book and uses them to perfect effect. The best thing about him is the way he adjusts to the different formats of the game. He has played his role in every match RCB has won this year.
Chris Gayle- Gaylestorm still happens and we still live under tin roofs. Life might have taken a different form altogether. The kids who weren’t born during the first season and who were born during one of the seasons must have started going to school. But some things about IPL haven’t changed and one of them is Gayle. He still is the leading six-hitter. In fact, he now threatens to scare the spectators away with his shots. He has already scored 228 runs at an average of over 57 and has a strike rate of 152.43.
Muttiah Muralitharan- Will you believe that RCB haven’t been able to adjust the highest wicket-taker in their team? Well, it’s fact – Vettori being the captain and Dilshan, de Villiers and Gayle being in top form has made it impossible for the team to accommodate their prime bowler. One hopes he plays, and he will take care of the rest.
- Apart from du Plessis who has three half-centuries from his seven games, Badrinath is the only other half-centurion for Chennai — he scored 57 against Pune.
- The players — de Villiers and du plessis — who lead Bangalore and Chennai’s list of run-scorers are both South African.
Chennai is a better fighting unit, while on pure form RCB looks ahead. It’s a tough call, I give in to the prospect of another Gaylestorm.