Moeen Ali's non-inclusion in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) line-up for the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) took many by surprise. However, it is understood the English all-rounder is sitting out due to a niggle he sustained in the last match.
Before the start of the game, Moeen Ali was the second-highest run-scorer for the Super Kings, with 133 runs at an average of 33.25. He has played a crucial role in CSK's hat-trick of wins, providing the team with much-needed impetus during the middle overs.
He was also the most economical bowler for the team, having conceded just 6.33 runs per over in the three innings that he bowled.
Missing Moeen Ali for the game could be costly for Chennai, given that RCB have two left-handers in their batting line-up, including Devdutt Padikkal, who registered a century in the last game against the Rajasthan Royals (RR).
Imran Tahir replaces Moeen Ali
In Moeen Ali's absence, South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir got his first opportunity this season. The 42-year-old, who picked up 26 wickets from 17 games in IPL 2019, was mostly sidelined last year due to competition for overseas spots.
He played just three games in IPL 2020, picking up one wicket while maintaining an economy rate of 6.90. CSK also roped in Dwayne Bravo in place of Lungi Ngidi for this game.
RCB, meanwhile, made two changes for this encounter. Navdeep Saini received his first opportunity this season, replacing Shahbaz Ahmed in the side. Kane Richardson also made way for Daniel Christian to strengthen the batting line-up.
Thus far, in all T20 matches, RCB and CSK have played each other in 26 games. The 'Men in Yellow' have been victorious in 17 instances.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Playing XI): Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers (wk), Washington Sundar, Daniel Christian, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
Chennai Super Kings (Playing XI): Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c)(wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir