Chinnaswamy braces for Yellove fever as Bangalore rekindle Chennai rivalry

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16 Apr 2023 | 10:44 AM
authorShweta Haranhalli

Chinnaswamy braces for Yellove fever as Bangalore rekindle Chennai rivalry

Maniac Monday awaits us as Thala's army grace the Garden City aiming to get their campaign back on track

When the home-and-away format returned for the Indian Premier League, joy amongst the fans knew no bounds. For there is a different joy to how home fans recieve their team and make it a great spectacle. Think of Chepauk. Think of Chinnaswamy. Think of Eden Gardens. 

Four-time champions Chennai Super Kings will be up against Royal Challengers Bangalore in a sea of Red in front of a packed Chinnaswamy Stadium. And dare I say, the Chinnaswamy could bear a tinge of Yellow for this high-voltage clash as this may or may not be the last time they'll see MS Dhoni weave their magic on the field. 

Well, ask Kieron Pollard, who summed up the atmosphere and the emotions at the Wankhede Stadium for Dhoni ahead of their clash against Mumbai Indians as one of the best he has witnessed in recent times. 

"When he plays this season, everywhere he goes, he's going to have a home crowd because of what he has done," he stated in a conversation with ESPN Cricinfo. 

Two icons of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, in all their glory. It doesn't get better than this, as a historic southern derby awaits us.

The last time these two sides locked horns at this venue, the home team managed to eke out a one-run win against MS Dhoni and his men. Things are a tad bit different this time around as Faf du Plessis and his men will step onto the field riding high on confidence after a comprehensive win against Delhi Capitals. 

The visiting side will be wounded after their three-run defeat at home and will be itching to get their campaign back on track against the in-form Royal Challengers. 

Things to watch out for

Should MS Dhoni bat up the order?

In the last game against the Rajasthan Royals, MS Dhoni walked in at number eight and smashed 32 off 17 deliveries, studded with three sixes to help the Super Kings inch closer to the target. 

While the home team fell agonisingly short, there have been talks revolving around the batting position of the Chennai skipper. The 41-year-old has been in sublime form in the four matches, and Chennai would benefit if their power-hitter comes a position or two up the order. 

Dhoni has a phenomenal record at this venue in the IPL, with 463 runs in 10 innings at an average of 92.6, which is the best for him at a venue where he has played a minimum of five innings. 

There ain't any doubt that Chennai would rely on their leader to yet again give the team some much-needed impetus down the order, but it will be interesting to see the tactics deployed by the team management in promoting him up the order to control the middle overs before breaking free at the death. 

Resurgence of Ajinkya Rahane

There is something about Chennai Super Kings, and their ability to pick players, only a few franchises would opt for in the tournament. After a solitary season with Kolkata Knight Riders, the Super Kings acquired the services of Ajinkya Rahane in this edition.

While most people expected the Mumbai batter to warm the benches, especially in the first half of the tournament, MS Dhoni opted to use him against Mumbai Indians on his home turf at the Wankhede Stadium. 

And boy, did he not play one of the most scintillating innings of his career as he smashed a 19-ball fifty to lead Chennai's charge in an emphatic win against the home team. 

In the next game, he was yet again at the forefront of Chennai's batting in his 19-ball 31-run knock against the Royals that helped them consolidate after a little stutter early in the run chase.

Tale of two seasons for Dinesh Karthik

While one of the veteran batters is back with an absolute bang, the same cannot be said about Dinesh Karthik, who has struggled to get going in the last four games. 

The wicket-keeper batter has scores of  0,9,1*and 0 in the tournament and will be itching to turn things around heading into this massive clash. At 37, he made optimum use of the last edition of the IPL to stage a comeback in the national team for the T20 World Cup. 

However, things seemed to have gone downhill for the right-hander since his return to the Indian side. With the fortunes of the middle order of the Royal Challengers relying heavily on him, du Plessis will be hoping for his return to form heading into the middle phase of the competition. 

Pitch & conditions

Over the years, Chinnswamy has been known to produce some high-scoring encounters, and this game will not be any different. The average first-innings total at this venue is around the 180-run mark, and the average winning total is around 203 runs. 

With the square boundaries on the shorter side, expect plenty of boundaries being scored in the span of 40 overs. It is a ground where pacers have reaped massive dividends, and out of the 36 wickets since IPL 2020, 26 of them have been scalped by fast bowlers, which is around 72 percent. 

Expect the pacers from both outfits to enjoy the conditions with the new ball before the batters dominate the rest of the innings. 

Tactical nous

Can Virat Kohli overcome off-spin demons?

Virat Kohli has been in sublime form in the tournament and will enter this game on the back of a blazing half-century against the Delhi Capitals. However, the right-handed batter has been dismissed by off-spinners twice in 15 deliveries and has an average of 5.5, making Moeen Ali and Maheesh Theekshana come into the play early in the innings. 

Onus on Ruturaj to dismantle left-arm pace

In the last couple of seasons, Ruturaj Gaikwad has struggled against left-arm seamers, but this edition has been very different. The right-handed batter has smashed 33 runs in 19 deliveries against them this season at a strike rate of 173.7.

With Wayne Parnell in the ranks, expect Gaikwad to take the attack to the South African seamer. 

Eyes on Ravindra Jadeja against Glenn Maxwell

MS Dhoni will rely on Ravindra Jadeja to weave his magic against Glenn Maxwell in the middle overs. The left-arm spinner has dismissed the attacking batter seven times in 14 innings at an average of 10.3, the most by a bowler in T20s. 

Well, do not be surprised if Jadeja comes into the attack as soon as Maxwell walks onto the field. 

Team combination

After recording a comfortable win against the Capitals at this venue, expect the Royal Challengers to field an unchanged XI. 

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis (Captain), Mahipal Lomror, Glenn Maxwell, Shahbaz Ahmed, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Wayne Parnell, Mohammed Siraj, Vyshak Vijaykumar 

With Sisanda Magala out for two weeks due to a finger injury, Dwaine Pretorius will most likely replace him in the playing XI. 

Chennai Super Kings: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ajinkya Rahane, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (Captain/wk), Maheesh Theekshana, Tushar Deshpande, Akash Singh, Dwaine Pretorius

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Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super KingsIndian Premier League, 2023Royal Challengers BangaloreChennai Super KingsMS DhoniVirat KohliFaf du PlessisDinesh KarthikAjinkya RahaneRuturaj GaikwadWayne Parnell

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