Bangalore v Chennai, 1st qualifier, IPL 2011, Mumbai May 23, 2011

Bangalore favourite in fight for final

The Preview by Dustin Silgardo

Match facts

Tuesday, May 24, Mumbai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

It began with a last-ball thriller, meandered in the middle, and ended with perhaps the most exciting match of the season. The IPL league phase is over, and though there were some spirited contenders, the four teams who looked strongest from the start are the ones that have progressed.

Amid the randomness of the prolonged qualification period Royal Challengers Bangalore have provided some stability. With eight wins in their previous nine games, they are undoubtedly favourites, a concept so vital to most sporting contests, but considered taboo in the IPL. They have earned the tag, and not just through the belligerence of Chris Gayle. S Aravind and Virat Kohli have been consistent, Daniel Vettori has been effective in his unassuming manner, Zaheer Khan has shown glimpses of his abilities and, perhaps, most importantly they've been relatively safe with their catching in a tournament plagued by poor fielding.

They beat Chennai in their last league game and a similar result in the first qualifier on Tuesday will ensure a berth in the final.

Chennai, though, have the opportunity to play some MS Dhoni-endorsed "fearless" cricket, knowing that the lifeline Kolkata's L Balaji and Mumbai's Ambati Rayudu combined to afford them on Sunday night is a sturdy one. Their second chance, should they need it, will be in Chennai, where they won all seven of their games in the group phase.

It will be interesting to see whether they take some risks to derail the Bangalore juggernaut; perhaps throw caution to the wind with the bat, or maybe put in some close fielders for the phenomenal Gayle.

Form guide

Bangalore: WLWWW (first on points table)

Chennai: LWWWL (second on points table)

Team talk

In three matches since Tillakaratne Dilshan's departure, Bangalore tried three different opening partners for Gayle, all without much success. The latest move, to push AB de Villiers up the order, was the boldest, as it clusters Bangalore's three best batsmen at the top, and leaves the middle order looking inexperienced.

If they do stick with de Villiers up the order, Luke Pomersbach is rather wasted as a fourth foreign player. They could replace him with either Asad Pathan or Arun Karthik, and bring in Charl Langeveldt, who took five wickets in the three chances he was given, in place of Abhimanyu Mithun. Vettori also suggested after the previous game that Bangalore may bring in spinner J Syed Mohammad in place of a batsman if the pitch looks like it will turn.

Chennai have not changed their XI in their previous four games, but may consider a couple of moves after the thrashing they were handed in Bangalore. Albie Morkel has not displayed the wicket-taking ability he did in the first half of the tournament, and with Chennai's batting line-up already long enough, Tim Southee is an option.

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team selector.

In the spotlight

S Badrinath has failed in his previous two innings. The last time Chennai played at the Wankhede Stadium, he was sublime during his 71 not out off 48 balls. In last year's semi-final, he was Chennai's top-scorer with 37.

AB de Villiers has had an ordinary second half of the season with the bat, but his talent is unquestionable. He likes being in the thick of the action, so won't mind opening the batting again.

Prime numbers

  • Daniel Vettori is by far the most economical bowler of this IPL season (five overs minimum). His 40 overs have gone at a rate of just 5.40 an over.

  • With five stumpings, MS Dhoni has the most such dismissals among the wicketkeepers in this IPL.

The chatter

"If you get Chris Gayle out and you've got a few [runs on the board], you have a chance; getting him out will be priority, number one."
Stephen Fleming, the Chennai coach, knows who Bangalore's main man is.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on May 26, 2011, 12:12 GMT

    @Pranav - What a needless comment that was!You take out 4 batsmen and say without them RCB cant get to 150?Of course they can't!In the same way that CSK cant without Hussey,Badri,Raina and Dhoni!

  • dummy4fb on May 24, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    We are the Super Kings .... Mind it....... Lions are all set to roar at its Den for the finals.... We proved that we are the Champions... you ppl cannot write us off in an article like above....

  • kingcobra85 on May 24, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    hahaha told you so! the author is not so much backing RCB now is he?

  • dummy4fb on May 24, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    CSK or RCB.......both teams are formidable in their own way but in truth RCB is a one man show. The GAYLE FORCE sent them propelling to the top of the table ,where as CSK works as a team. Each player has a role and plays well. Out of the 11 in CSK 9 of them are in top form.For RCB only Gayle has shown the way,and others have supported him.If Gayle, Kholi, deVillers and tiwary are out RCB will have trouble scoring a more than 150.

  • dummy4fb on May 24, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    @gagan_deep you are shouting at the fact that our cricketers aren't playing for the country but are instead..playing the IPL...i wud like to tell's not abt the money at all is a fun game and should be played whenever u feel doin so...we won the World Cup complaining...we are still the NUMERO UNO team!!!!

  • dummy4fb on May 24, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    CSK should consider playing Southee instead of Morkel today....he's a better bowler than Morkel any day...and Morkel hasn't found much form with the bat too!!!Southee did well in the 1st leg this IPL and can be an element of surprise for Gayle and Co.!!!

  • gagan_deep on May 24, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Only Gayle is enough to get rid of enire Team effort of CSK.

  • somu1984 on May 24, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    Previous editions of IPL, Chris Gayle was a failure and he is making it count now. Also he wanted to prove to WICB that he can be a match winner. If we take Chris Gayle out of the RCB equation then I don't think that they could travel this far. It is to be seen if any team that removes Chris Gayle early then what would be the outcome of the match. On the other hand, CSK has lot of potential match winners like MEK Hussey, Suresh Raina, S. Badrinath, M, Vijay in them which is led by our own captain cool MSD. Expecting a close contest though. ALL THE BEST to both the teams.

  • arvindhsuperking on May 24, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    raghu1122000.......dont tell wrong facts.....csk and rcb won a match each in ipl 1....rcb won 2 and csk 1 in ipl 2....rcb 1 and csk 1 in ipl 3....csk won rcb in champions league ...ipl4 5-5

  • dummy4fb on May 24, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    guys please help Indian football also ,lets assume all IPL cricket team has a football team also ...offcource in 20-20 mnts ...must be excited game ,Ambani ,Malyaa ,SRK ...pls help Indian Football too.

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