It’s a tale of two teams that are accustomed to not competing with each other for places. While the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have always been up there with the best of the lot, fighting for a place in Qualifier 1, rather than just any other playoffs spot, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have mostly found themselves languishing on the other end of the table most years.
Yet, here we are. The MS Dhoni-led team come into this match knowing that it is mathematically impossible for them to overtake the Bangalore franchise. And while they are technically still alive in the tournament - provided several results go their way - a defeat here will seal CSK’s fate.
Lady luck has certainly not been smiling on the team that is supposed to be the most consistent franchise in IPL history. After both Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh pulled out of the tournament due to personal reasons, CSK also lost Dwayne Bravo to injury right before the business end of the IPL.
With remaining seniors struggling to make an impact this season, the time would have been ripe for the Chennai-based franchise to unleash their young talent on the rest of the league. The youngsters in the squad, however, are yet to show skipper Dhoni the ‘spark’ that he is looking for.
Dhoni’s opposite number Virat Kohli will be all too familiar with this ‘spark’ that the former India captain has wanted from his team’s youth. The numbers tell you the story, of course. Where 20-year-old Devdutt Padikkal has been more-than-impressive with the bat, scoring 321 runs in his 10 innings so far, Washington Sundar has picked up his 6 wickets while bowling at an economy rate of 5.60 runs an over.
For every reason that the Super Kings would have to not look forward to today’s game, the Royal Challengers seem to have one to go into the match with confidence. A victory against CSK today would all but confirm their place in the top 4, while temporarily taking them to the top of the IPL 2020 points table.
Although these two teams find themselves on the opposite ends of the table, the form book goes out of the window when it comes to rivalries as fierce as the one that these two teams share. That alone would make this Bangalore v Chennai clash a must-watch.
IPL 2020: RCB v CSK Match Prediction
MS Dhoni made three big changes going into the fixture against the Mumbai Indians. The result would be no different, however, as CSK folded tamely once again. The Super Kings top-order was humiliated before young Sam Curran, with veteran Imran Tahir for company, made sure that CSK crossed the 100-run mark.
The misery didn’t end there for the team in yellow, though, as MI’s Ishan Kishan, opening in place of injured skipper Rohit Sharma, blasted away to a 37-ball 68 and made light of an already easy run-chases.
While the experienced CSK top-order never really got going this season, it seems that the young blood experiment of opening with Sam Curran has ended for now as well. And although the 22-year-old has been unable to notch up a big score at the top, the intent was always there, and the quality he possesses was on show in his rescue job against the defending champions.
The CSK bowlers have not been too impressive either. Even with the likes of Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur and Curran picking up 29 wickets between them, the fact that the spinners have failed to come to the party seems to have hurt the team from Chennai.
To make matters worse, their most economical bowler, Josh Hazlewood, has only played in three matches, picking up the solitary wicket. The inability to tighten the noose at one end and up the pressure on the opposition seems to have cost CSK dearly in the tournament, so far.
RCB, on the other hand, seem to have mastered the art. With Washington Sundar and Chris Morris now allowing batsmen room to breathe on one end, the bowlers seem more than content picking up wickets at the other. But that’s not to say that these two bowlers haven’t had their share of the scalps.
While Sundar’s haul of six wickets in 10 games may not be the most impressive from first look, he has picked up some important wickets for his franchise. Morris too has joined the party post his return from injury with nine wickets from his five games with the team.
One cannot say enough about the RCB bowling without mentioning Mohammed Siraj and his spell against the Kolkata Knight Riders. The 26-year-old responded to Eoin Morgan’s decision to bat first by running through their top-order. The early blitz from a normally much-criticised Siraj saw KKR restricted to just 84/8 in their 20 overs, as the pacer finished with bowling figures that read 4-2-8-3.
Add to this impressive bowling line-up, the flair that the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Devdutt Padikkal bring with the bat, and it is easy to see why one would the RCB unit head into this game as favourites, and will also probably walk away the victors of the match.
Prediction: RCB to win today’s match.Published 25 Oct 2020, 10:00 IST