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Match Preview – RCB vs CSK 68th Match, IPL

Match details

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) (6th; 6W, 7L) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) (4th; 7W, 6L)
Bengaluru, 7.30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big picture – RCB vs CSK, the match of the season?

Is the hype around this encounter justified?

The results over the years have been rather one-sided in favour of CSK. RCB have won only once in their last five meetings and only 31% of the all the matches in the IPL against them.

So maybe not.

But this time, there is a lot at stake – it’s a virtual quarter-final. RCB are in roaring form, with five wins in a row; CSK have been up and down. Scenarios-wise, it’s easier for CSK to get through. Just win, or hope the game is rained out – not unlikely, considering the weather in Bengaluru. RCB, however, have to win and win by a certain margin – assuming a score of 200, they need to win by 18 runs or chase the target down with about 11 balls to spare – to get into the top four.

There are sentimental reasons for the hype too. Is this the last we’ll see an MS Dhoni vs Virat Kohli encounter on the field? Will it be Dhoni’s last game for CSK? (Nobody knows, not even CSK’s batting coach Mike Hussey.)

Dhoni and Kohli may grab all the headlines, but some subplots mean much more. The two most powerful spin-hitters this season will come up against each other: Shivam Dube, who rocked it for CSK in the first half, and Rajat Patidar, who turned the fortunes around for RCB in the second. It will also be the battle of the Indian quicks, who have played key roles in their sides’ wins in the last few games. M Chinnaswamy Stadium might be a batter-friendly surface, but it may all come down to which pace unit performs better on the day.

In terms of the venue, RCB have won both their recent matches at the Chinnaswamy after being relentlessly bashed by oppositions earlier in the season. CSK, however, have won only two of their six away matches. For CSK to gain an advantage at the Chinnaswamy, their batters must come together.

Form guide

RCB WWWWW (last five matches, most recent first)

Previous meeting

It was the season opener, at Chepauk. Mustafizur Rahman ran through the RCB top order but a late lift from Anuj Rawat and Dinesh Karthik took them to 173 for 6. In reply, CSK chased down the target with eight balls remaining, with Dube and Ravindra Jadeja posting an unbeaten 66-run stand. In many ways, that result set the tone for the first half of the season for the two sides. But it all changed since then.

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Royal Challengers Bengaluru
RCB are likely to bring back Glenn Maxwell for the game in place of Will Jacks, who has left for England duty. Patidar for Yash Dayal or Swapnil Singh will likely be the impact swap again.

RCB probable XII: 1 Virat Kohli, 2 Faf du Plessis (capt), 3 Glenn Maxwell, 4 Rajat Patidar, 5 Mahipal Lomror, 6 Cameron Green, 7 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 8 Yash Dayal, 9 Karn Sharma, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Lockie Ferguson 12 Swapnil Singh

Chennai Super Kings
Moeen Ali has left, so Mitchell Santner is likely to get a place in the XI. Ruturaj Gaikwad is back to opening with Rachin Ravindra, with Ajinkya Rahane dropping to No. 3. In the last game, Daryl Mitchell was subbed out during the chase to get Sameer Rizvi in at No. 7. Considering Rahane’s poor form, and with Moeen out, will they consider starting with Rizvi and have Mitchell at No. 3?

CSK probable XII: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad (capt), 2 Rachin Ravindra, 3 Daryl Mitchell, 4 Shivam Dube, 5 Ravindra Jadeja, 6 Sameer Rizvi, 7 MS Dhoni (wk), 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Maheesh Theekshana, 11 Tushar Deshpande, 12 Simarjeet Singh

In the spotlight – Faf du Plessis and Shivam Dube

Faf du Plessis is yet to make a big impact with the bat. He has three fifties, but has struggled for consistency overall, having scored just 367 runs at 28.23 in 13 games. He averages just 27 in the powerplay this year compared to 120 last year, when he had a great time. RCB will be hoping for a big score from their captain in the crucial game to go with another big hand from orange cap-holder Virat Kohli.

Shivam Dube‘s superb run in the first half of the season earned him a spot in India’s T20 World Cup squad. However, since then, his form has dipped. Following ducks in back-to-back games against Punjab Kings, he scored 21 and 18 in the next two matches. He was taking spinners apart when the going was good. In three out of the last four games, he’s gotten out trying to go after spinners.

Pitch and conditions

It was cloudy all day in Bengaluru on Friday, and there’s a 78% chance of rain on Saturday, with the forecast saying there could be thunderstorms accompanied by showers in the evening. The average first-innings score at the venue this season is 193. The day before the game, there was no grass on the centre pitch, which will be used for this match, so expect it to be a belter.

Stats that matter

  • Kohli has upped his powerplay game, from striking at 131 at an average of 62 in the first six matches to 193 at 98.50 in the last seven
  • RCB are Dhoni’s favourite opposition – he has scored 413 runs at an average of 82.6 against them, the most against any team for him in the IPL
  • Ruturaj Gaikwad averages 71 this season, which is the best for an opener in IPL 2024


“He’s a bowler that basically bowled the fastest in our group. Every team will like a bowler like Simar because he bowls with a lot of pace and he’s very aggressive by nature. Even against our own batsmen in the nets, sometimes I get scared with the way he bowls. Very happy to see that the work that he’s put in to finally get an opportunity to play and he’s performing well.”
CSK bowling coach Dwayne Bravo on Simarjeet Singh

Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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