RCB living on a prayer
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings
4 pm M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore have their task for Saturday night cut for them, they must beat the Chennai Super Kings by a big margin at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
That leaves them hoping the Sunrisers Hyderabad lose their final fixture against Kolkata.
SRH lead RCB by 2 points at 18 and both teams have a game in hand which is why SRH could go through even if RCB thrash Chennai by a huge margin.
Chennai’s Michael Hussey has been consistently on Chris Gayle’s tail chasing the Orange Cap while Dwayne Bravo has mostly led the battle for the Purple Cap. MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Mohit Sharma have been in good form for the team while almost everyone else has contributed, making the team a dangerous one without any apparent weak links.
But Shane Watson showed how an aggressive approach could throw the Chennai bowlers out of rhythm. Chris Gayle must dominate R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja instead of playing them out, the go slow approach has seen RCB end 20-30 runs short in the two previous games. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers too will be expected to make statements with the bat in the crunch game. Moises Henriques may make way for Ravi Rampaul or Muttiah Muralitharan could make a straight swap but RCB need the pace and bounce of the Trinidadian to rush Chennai’s Indian batting trio of Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina and S Badrinath.
Virat Kohli must decide whether to continue with Pujara as Gayle’s partner at the top or put the more aggressive KL Rahul there and let Pujara be a rebuilder. Kartik Murali’s bowling was missed against Punjab and he too may return to the side to face Chennai.
Chennai could however play a rather different side to their normal one, having been assured of a top 2 finish thanks to Rajasthan’s loss at Hyderabad. It remains important that RCB get the best XI on the field and get those 2 points to go through to the playoffs.
Zaheer Khan, Vinay Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat had a collectively terrible day against Adam Gilchrist but the latter two especially will want to not let that blight what has been a good tournament for them. The sustained pressure that Mumbai had applied on Chennai will inspire them.
From topping the tables in the early part of the tournament to an extended horror away stretch, RCB have seen extremes in this tournament, even playing 2 Super Over finishes. Once again, all the work of the past two months comes down to the result of this one game. If they win this, they are still only alive till Sunday night. It’s RCB’s move and there are a lot of people waiting to be proved wrong by the team.