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By Shrikant Shankar
May 17, 2014
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will be looking to book their play-off spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 when they clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on May 17. This is Match 42 in IPL 7. Chennai come into the match in second position in the IPL 7 Points Table after 10 matches. Bangalore are in sixth spot with all to do to qualify for the play-offs. A victory is the need for both teams, but for very different reasons. It is MS Dhoni versus Virat Kohli at Ranchi.
Dhoni’s men are coming into the match on the back of two back-to-back last-over finishes. In both matches against Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, Dhoni continued his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to take matches to the very last over before hitting the winning runs. Chennai will be heading into this match wit a lot of confidence. A victory almost assures them a spot in the IPL 2014 play-offs. If other results go their way in this round of matches, then Dhoni would have secured a top four finish in each of the seven IPL seasons.
They have a settled line-up and may not look to alter it unless injuries come into play. Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum have proved to be the best opening combination in IPL 7. Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis form a good middle-order and both have been scoring some runs lately. Dhoni likes to experiment at times, but he should ideally walk out to bat at No 5. Then the bowling all-rounders, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, complete a destructive and solid batting line-up.
Chennai have the liberty to use many options in the bowling department. Mohit Sharma has been impressive for Chennai. Ishwar Pandey has not been amongst the wickets, but also has not conceded too many runs. Ben Hilfenhaus could get a game in place of Samuel Badree to counter Chris Gayle with a bit of pace. Bangalore need a wni for different reasons. Kohli’s men sit in sixth spot in the standings. They have only eight points. But they won their previous match against Delhi Daredevils and confidence will be on a slight high.
The form of Yuvraj Singh in the last two matches has been a joy to watch for Bangalore’s and Indian fans alike. The southpaw has been in the kind of form that made him brilliant in the ICC World T20 2007. His last two innings read 83 and 68 not out. He has hit a combined 16 sixes and eight fours in those two matches. Yuvraj also took four wickets in the first match of the two mentioned. As Yuvraj has made a magnificent return back to form, Bangalore would hope Gayle too would come into his own against Chennai.
If Gayle and Yuvraj are in full flow, then there is only one winner – the West Indian. The injury that kept him out of the first few matches has not gone away and that could be affecting his performances thus far. Like Gayle, Kohli too has been on a wretched run of form. The captain needs to perform against one of the best teams in the tournament’s history to keep Bangalore alive in this season. AB de Villiers has been in very good form and all these four need their A games on Sunday.
Muttiah Muralitharan’s return has been a positive and Bangalore would want to continue with the legendary off-spinner. Mitchell Starc has been relatively consistent for Bangalore amongst the fast bowlers. Yuzvendra Chahal has been a revelation in the spin department. It will be interesting to see whether Bangalore bring back Varun Aaron and Ashok Dinda, especially, after the hammering they got against Rajasthan. A victory is always welcomed, but for both teams the reasons are very different.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Francois du Plessis, Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Ben Hilfenhaus, John Hastings, Samuel Badree, Matt Henry, Mithun Manhas, Vijay Shankar, Ronit More, Baba Aparajith, Pawan Negi.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), Chris Gayle, Parthiv Patel (wk), Yuvraj Singh, AB de Villiers, Albie Morkel, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mitchell Starc, Ravi Rampaul, Vijay Zol, Sachin Rana, Yogesh Takawale, Nic Maddinson, Sandeep Warrier, Tanmay Mishra, Harshal Patel, Shadab Jakati, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Ashok Dinda, Varun Aaron, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Time: 16:00 IST | 10:30 GMT
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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