RCB-CSK clash promises a blockbuster

RCB-CSK clash promises a blockbuster

RCB pacemen Tim Southee (left) and Chris Wokes during a practice session at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Monday. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

The Royal Challengers Bangalore may not have any trophy to boast about as compared to three-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians or two-time winners Chennai Super Kings but the clashes between these three sides have been clubbed in the heavyweight category since the inception of the league.

One such battle — between RCB and CSK — will be fought in front of a packed Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday and the anticipation among fans from both sides has hit the fever pitch. Tickets have been sold out well in advance while a few players from both camps have confessed how they can’t wait to cross swords against each other.

While the sudden rise in anticipation levels is partly because of CSK’s return to the IPL fold after a two-year break, the main reason though is the quality of the fight RCB and CSK bring to the table and the needle that’s always there when sides from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu clash.

The Royal Challengers, who got their floundering campaign on track with a fine win over Delhi Daredevils on Saturday, will have no room for errors against the Super Kings who have been in irresistible form so far. Despite having the oldest squad, they have found the men to deliver on various occasions to sit currently in second position with 8 points while RCB, perhaps having the most balanced side, have flattered to deceive and lie bunched in the mid-table with 4 points.

The good thing for RCB is that their two premier batsmen — skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers — have been in great touch but beyond the two, others, barring Mandeep Singh, have failed to put their hands up consistently. Opener Quinton de Kock has looked patchy, all-rounder Corey Anderson has misfired in the two games he has played while Sarfaraz Khan, retained with plenty of hope, has failed.

Another worry for RCB is their bowling which has been good in the initial overs but totally ordinary in the death overs. Mistakes have been repeated match after match and the appointment of former India pacer Ashish Nehra as the bowling coach has done no wonders at all. Bowling has been RCB’s Achilles Heel since the very beginning and if they don’t get their act together on Wednesday, they could be in for a severe hammering.

The Super Kings, led astutely by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have shown what the IPL missed for two seasons during their suspension. Shane Watson, one of the two century-makers this year, Ambati Rayudu, IPL king Suresh Raina, Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo have been amongst the runs, giving a look that this team loves to punch together. Watson and Bravo have been exceptional with the ball too, the former picking up crucial wickets and the latter showing great skills and intelligence during the death overs.

Pacers Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur have been decent while leg-spinner Imran Tahir, one of the premier T20 bowlers in the world, has been good. The only worry for CSK has been the inconsistency of big-hitting Sam Billings but the Englishman can be destructive on his day.

The Royal Challengers need to win this to stay afloat in the mid-table race while CSK will look to notch up their fourth straight win over RCB and rise to the top again.


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