Kolkata: The South Indian Derby, as the match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore is known as in the history of IPL, may have lost a bit of sheen this season - but there is still plenty to look forward to in this important mid-table clash on Wednesday.
The hype around it as the matching of wits between the esrtwhile Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his mentor M.S.Dhoni has now boiled down an important game for Bangalore to earn two points and claw back into top four (they are now fifth with 10 points), while their rivals (ninth) will want on to build on their big win in the last game and play for pride in the remaining games.
RCB, who had started off well despite the poor run of Kohli with the bat, slipped to three defeats in a row now - including the nightmarish outing when they were dismissed for 68. A piece of statistic sums up their batting plight - in 10 games so far, they have looged in only six half-centuries with two of them belonging to new captain Faf du Plessis while Kohli found his first one in the last game against Gujarat Titans, though his strike-rate of barely 100-plus came in for criticism and they ended up on the losing side.
Kohli (186 runs in 10 games) and Du Plessis (278 from nine games), may be the scariest of opening pairs on paper, but it hasn’t really translated into a mega partnership so far.
Chennai, known for their consistency and an ability to win matches from all situations, have looked a pale shadow of the side which looked invincible even in the 2021 season. Their experiment to groom Ravindra Jadeja as the successor to MSD failed to take off and it was more out of desperation that their management decided to bgring their ‘Thalaiva’ back at the helm.
A move like this often works wonders and in their last game, their opening partnership of Ruturaj Gaekwad and Devon Conway tore into the most feared new ball attack this year in Sunrisers Hyderabad and stitched together a 182-run stand in the ongoing season. The win would have certainly given them a big filip, though they bowling remains a major area of concern.
In nine games that the ‘Yellove’ have played so far, there hasn’t been a single bowler (either pacers or spinners), who has bowled at an economy rate of less than 7.50 runs an over. The best economy rate is of Mahesh Theeksana (7.54) while Dwayne Bravo (14 wickets) and Mukesh Choudhary (11 wickets) have had rather poor economy rates of 8.73 and 9.82 runs per over average.
Catch the match
Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bengalore
Venue: MCA Stadium, Pune
Start: 6 pm UAE