RCB look to break CSK stranglehold

RCB look to break CSK stranglehold

After missing two matches, AB de Villiers will be back against CSK to boost RCB's batting might on Saturday. DH File Photo

Having just broken free from the stranglehold of one giant, Royal Challengers Bangalore will be attempting a similar escape act against another bogey team when they lock horns with Chennai Super Kings here on Saturday.

Under-fire RCB had lost five straight games against Mumbai Indians but they snapped that streak  with a gutsy performance, especially with the ball, on Tuesday to inject some much-needed life into their campaign that was heading towards another disaster. Now, in order to keep their journey this season alive, they will have to punch together as a unit against CSK, who have won the last five contests between the two sides. 

RCB couldn’t have hoped for a better time to put an end to the miserable run against their southern rivals. Although the Super Kings sit pretty with 12 points from 9 games, they arrive at the MCA Stadium on the back of a bruising defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders. It was a match which saw the two-time champions make some uncharacteristic errors — dropped catches, misfields and a collective poor bowling show.

Also CSK, the oldest side by age, could appear fatigued as they will be playing their fourth game in eight days, a schedule that’s not easy even for youngsters. However, pinning down CSK won’t be a simple task as RCB — 6 points from 8 games — figured it out at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 25. The two heroes from that thrilling encounter — Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni — will be the men whom RCB will fear the most.

Dhoni has shown a new avatar of himself this season that has left many critics mesmerised. Bowlers seemed like they had gotten a measure of the master finisher by bowling wide of off-stump or short. Dhoni, however, has countered that by launching those widish balls either over long-on or extra cover region for sixes; all this by picking the length very early. In nine outings, he has hammered a staggering 24 sixes and 18 boundaries, amassing 329 runs in all.   

Rayudu, an enfant terrible, has also enjoyed a great run this season to lead the batting charts with 391 runs. He has plundered runs while opening and been a revelation in the middle order too, lending Super Kings a superb balance. RCB, whose bowling has been ordinary for most part, will have come up with a genuine plan to counter Rayudu and Dhoni.

RCB, meanwhile, will be relying on their star-studded batting line-up to further scythe through CSK’s bowling attack — their weak link. The MCA stadium is almost similar to Chinnaswamy Stadium in terms of pitch being friendly, and it could be another run-fest.

A welcome news for RCB is the return of talismanic AB de Villiers, who sat out of the last two games due to viral fever. However, stumper Quinton de Kock will miss Saturday’s game — he’s gone back to South Africa for a wedding — and judging by Friday’s practice session, Parthiv Patel could get his first hit.

Saturday kick-starts a run of four games RCB will be playing on road. Considering how delicately placed they are in the points table, they wouldn’t want any more breakdowns.