suraj rcb

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the second qualifier in a bid to sculpt a spot in the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL). RCB are a strong batting unit and a side who has peaked at the right time. On the other hand, CSK look a bit vulnerable after a dismal overall performance against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the first qualifier. However CSK, who were table toppers, are the most consistent team since the tournament’s inception and always lift themselves in crucial ties. Suraj Choudhari points out six things that CSK should do against RCB in order to book a place in the final.


  1. Play to their strength: Spin attack

CSK’s primary strength is their spin attack. The Ranchi track is known to be spinner friendly and CSK should once again look to play their three spinners – Ravichandran Ashwin, Pawan Negi and Ravindra Jadeja. In fact, spinners have accounted for 30 out of a total of 58 IPL wickets at Ranchi. Apart from Chris Gayle, the other six batsmen in the RCB line-up are right-handers which means the role of left-arm spinners – Negi and Jadeja will be critical.


  1. Pick early wickets and contain AB de Villiers

Early wickets are like gold dust in any format, especially the wickets of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli. Gayle can take the game away from opposition in no time. However it will be important to contain AB de Villiers, who is considered to be the best batsman in the world. He plays spin and pace equally well, and Dhoni should have a strategy ready to keep the South African game-changer in check.


  1. Have Suresh Raina play maximum Yuzvendra Chahal overs

Mitchell Starc’s inclusion has boosted the RCB’s bowling attack. His deadly yorkers at great speed have fetched him many wickets. CSK have to come out hard and confront Starc with great temperament. In the absence of CSK’s star batsman Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina has to step up and play a match winning knock for CSK as he has done it earlier. Raina has a very healthy record in playoffs and CSK will hope for him to come good. His weakness against quality pace is well-known. Not in good form, he might struggle against the short-pitched stuff from Starc, so other CSK batsmen should look to play the maximum Starc overs with the left-hander Raina playing more of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal overs and from other bowlers.


  1. Win the toss and bat first

CSK beat RCB in both the league encounters this year. Both the times, CSK batted first and applied pressure on RCB’s batting. Despite of being a good batting side, RCB have fumbled in the past while chasing in the knock out stages. Their players didn’t manage to step up in high pressured crunch matches. They lost two IPL finals while chasing. In 2009, they lost against Deccan Chargers (DC), while in 2011, CSK got the better of them. They also lost the semi-final in 2010 against Mumbai Indians (MI) while chasing. These stats corroborate the belief that RCB are not good chasers and CSK should look forward to exploit this weakness by looking to batting first.


  1. Not worry too much about the May 22 jinx

Sports fans are emotional and they believe in jinx but ultimately it’s the performance on the day which decides the fate of the side. CSK has never won a match on May 22 in the history of the IPL. They lost their last two encounters on this day which is considered unlucky by CSK fans. On this day, they lost against RCB in 2011 and SRH in 2014. CSK should be high on confidence as they have won both the encounters against RCB this season. Head-to-head CSK have an upper hand too as they have won 11 and lost seven. Also CSK have won two out of three knockout stage matches against RCB.


  1. The Ranchi factor

Ranchi is skipper Dhoni’s home ground and CSK will witness a massive fan support. The crowd support plays a huge role in a side’s performance and there’s bound to be a yellow brigade in the Ranchi stands. CSK should look to use that the Ranchi factor to its advantage.


(Suraj Choudhari, an avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)

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