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A ‘Royal’ challenge awaits Super Kings

Traversing common paths of sluggish starts and mid-point revival, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore now line up for a key Indian Premier League clash at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday.

CSK has won its last two games while RCB has done better — clinching its previous three outings — though M.S. Dhoni’s men will fondly remember April 12.

Albie back

On that scorching night at Chennai, thanks to Albie Morkel’s scathing bat, the defending champion mocked at RCB’s 205 for eight. Morkel, who subsequently was away in South Africa to attend the last rites of his deceased friend, is back in the CSK fold.

As is the case with tussles between neighbours, matches involving RCB and CSK are always invested with hype and intensity. In IPL’s nascent history, contests between CSK and RCB have trod the razor’s edge with the Chennai outfit currently ahead at 6-5.

The rivals are slowly solving the jigsaw puzzles in their respective playing elevens. In its initial skirmishes, CSK was hamstrung by M. Vijay’s poor form but with S. Badrinath stepping up as opener and Faf du Plessis excelling at the top, the team has firmed up its batting tread.

Dhoni, however, will be aware that more needs to be done as du Plessis’s high of 302 runs is followed by Dwayne Bravo’s 142 at a distant second.

With eight scalps in his kitty, Doug Bollinger has guided the bowling unit, but it is a stiffer challenge to run in against the likes of a marauding Chris Gayle and an innovative A.B. de Villiers.

Dilshan finds his touch

RCB too has found a disproportionate amount of welcome runs from a few batsmen — Gayle (250) and de Villiers (228) — while Tillakaratne Dilshan warmed up in the last contest against Rajasthan Royals.

An indisposed Gayle came lower down the order at Jaipur and RCB is nursing its silent woes over Virat Kohli, who has largely failed so far with 129 runs. Kohli’s lone bright spark came in the last game against CSK in which he scored 57, but in the same match he conceded 28 in the 19th over when Morkel reigned.

For RCB, Kohli is more than just the vice-captain, he is the key to the team’s future and hopefully the combative batsman will get over his dormant phase.

Fifth bowler’s slot

The fifth bowler’s slot was a recurrent headache for the host, but with left-arm spinner K.P. Appanna grabbing four wickets against Rajasthan Royals, the RCB attack, led by Zaheer Khan and skipper Daniel Vettori, is slowly gaining more options.

These are factors that can prove critical against a team like CSK, which rarely discards momentum despite its last-over finish against Rajasthan Royals.

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Posted by on Apr 25 2012. Filed under Cricket News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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