Chennai Super Kings will face Bangalore’s Royal Challengers on the 31st of March at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. Chennai Super Kings have not played to their potential in most of the matches of the IPL and sadly their captain MS Dhoni was out of the game for a few matches due to injury and even after his return the team has not shown any blistering performance. The last game they played was against Rajasthan Royals and Shane Warne’s team booked their fourth consecutive win against the Chennai Super Kings. And out of the seven matches Chennai Super Kings have managed to win only a couple of them as their semi-final hopes have slumped alarmingly.
Venue and conditions:
In all IPL matches played at the Chidambaram stadium the average first-innings score is a healthy 168. The lowest total recorded was King’s XI’s 136 this season which Chennai lost in the Super Over despite needing one from the last two balls when chasing.
Chennai Super Kings need to win the upcoming match to turn things around in their favour though it will be a tough task but not an impossible one definitely, as the team has solid players and each one has to do a meaningful contribution in all departments to make a difference.
Just two wins from seven matches leaves the Super Kings with an uphill struggle to reach the semi finals. If you include the Super Over defeat to Kings XI, they go into this game on the back of four consecutive defeats. Doug Bollinger has been signed up to bolster the bowling attack but he will not be available until 5th April. In the meantime, Murali leads the way with 11 wickets for Chennai but has lacked support to really put the squeeze on. They have five batsmen who average 30+ although they haven’t really taken opposition bowling attacks to pieces which their hitting power suggests they are more than capable of.
Matt Hayden, with 32 against Bangalore in game 18, is Chennai’s main man. But don’t discount Suresh Raina, who with 194 runs is only 19 runs behind his teammate. Thilan Thushara, the Sri Lankan, played in the loss to Rajasthan last time out so could hold onto his place. Manpreet Gony and Sudeep Tyagi are other options.
Bangalore Royal Challengers have played six matches so far and have won four out of them and they have displayed some good performance in the IPL so far, which has put them on the second position of the IPL standings.
The Royal Challengers have a settled attack with five bowlers, Kumble, Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Kallis and Steyn bowling all but 6.2 of their overs in the tournament so far. All have been amongst the wickets, Kumble has the best economy rate of just 5.49, Kallis is the most expensive at 8.39 and the others hover around 7.5 runs conceded per over. RCB have played four of their six matches in Bangalore and of the two played elsewhere, they won in Mumbai but lost their opening game in Kolkata.
Jacques Kallis has top scored four times in six matches and he still managed a contribution in Bangalore’s loss to Delhi in their last match. Robin Uthappa, with an unbeaten 68 in the previous meeting, is a potential alternative so long as Pietersen’s arrival doesn’t cause too much shuffling of the order.
Bangalore has Kevin Pietersen available and he should replace England teammate Eoin Morgan, who has had a disappointing return of 35 runs in four innings.
This is second meeting between the sides in IPL3, the Royal Challengers were comfortable 36 run winners in Bangalore in match number 18. RCB posted 171 largely thanks to a quick fire 68 from Robin Uthappa and some miserly bowling from Anil Kumble whose four overs cost just 15 runs.
The Royal Challengers were the side who beat the Super Kings in the semi finals of IPL 2 in South Africa.
In last year’s IPL, Pietersen played in six matches for Bangalore, losing four. When he left for England, Bangalore won seven from 10 on a run which took them all the way to the final.
We expect MS Dhoni’s side to come back hard at Bangalore in a desperate attempt to give their campaign a much-needed lifeline and with some home crowd support I am tipping them to upset the Royal Challengers’ applecart in Chennai
Royal Challengers who have a more stable look about them (especially with the ball) the Super Kings predicament and a powerful batting line up makes this a tricky contest.
Chennai probably need five wins from their last seven games if they are to maintain their record of having never missed an IPL semi-final. Unfortunately they meet a Bangalore side who play with verve and brains – a heady combination in this format.