Dubai : Still looking for their first Indian Premier League (IPL) title, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have everything to gain when they clash with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as Virat Kohli’s team would look to seal a playoff berth here on Sunday.At the moment, RCB are placed third, behind Mumbai Indians (MI) and Delhi Capitals, with 14 points from 10 matches. They have four more matches to play, including Sunday’s game, and they have good chances of making the grade as they look in fine form.On the other hand, three- time champions CSK are virtually out of the playoff contention, though mathematically they still have an outside chance. With eight defeats from 11 games, CSK are placed at the bottom of the points table. Nevertheless, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team would look finish off the tournament gracefully — with a few wins.CSK had a poor outing in their last game against arch-rivals MI on Friday as the reigning champions inflicted a 10-wicket defeat on their rivals.CSK made as many as three changes in their playing XI against MI. However, the decision failed to click as just three of their batters were able to touch the double-digit mark. It was all-rounder Sam Curran who saved his side from enduring a more embarrassing defeat with his gritty half-century.The main concern of CSK has been the performance of their batsmen who have let the team down. Faf du Plessis is the only in- form batsman and he too succumbed to the lethal pace attack MI possess.
Moreover, Dhoni has endured a horrid run with the bat and has drawn a lot of flak for his decisions. The charismatic skipper has now three games in hand to silence his critics.With Dwayne Bravo’s departure, Ravindra Jadeja is one of the lynchpins for CSK in the lower middle order along with Sam Curran, if the team decide to stick to him in that position and not promote him back to the top of the order.Their bowlers have performed comparatively better, although they failed to get any wickets against MI.Josh Hazlewood, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur will be in the pace attack while Jadeja could team up with Imran Tahir again in spin bowling. The spinners have their jobs cut out as they could be bowling to the likes of AB de Villiers or Kohli in the middle overs.CSK could also give chances to KM Asif, Monu Singh or Mitchell Santner, all of whom have warmed the bench thus far this season.On the other hand, RCB started the season on a slow note before gaining confidence. They registered dominant wins against Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).While de Villiers was the chief architect of the win against Royals, Mohammed Siraj wreaked havoc with the ball against KKR. RCB have shown the power of collective efforts and would be looking to continue in the same vein against the struggling CSK.Kohli, de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal have been in good touch while Gurkeerat Singh Mann and all-rounder Chris Morris will look to explode down the order.The pace trio, comprising Isuru Udana, Navdeep Saini and Morris, have performed well while experienced Yuzvendra Chahal has led the spin attack along with Washington Sundar.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain/wicket-keeper), Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers (wicketkeeper), Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe (wicketkeeper), Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Shahbaz Ahmed, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Dale Steyn, Pawan Negi, Isuru Udana, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Pavan Deshpande, Adam Zampa