Teams on the upswing face-off
Match factsApril 13, 2013
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
Both Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore are coming off comprehensive wins from their previous games. There was a similarity in the way the wins were achieved - the bowlers kept the opposition down to less-than-daunting scores, paving the way for the top order to cut it down to size with plenty of balls remaining.
Super Kings had the easier of the two outings, winning by ten wickets against a listless Kings XI Punjab. A combined bowling effort by Super Kings restricted Kings XI to an underwhelming 138 in Mohali, before M Vijay and Michael Hussey smashed fifties to win in 17.2 overs in one of the most one-sided games of the tournament so far. Royal Challengers did well on Thursday to restrict Kolkata Knight Riders to 154 in Bangalore, after the visitors threatened to score in excess of 170 at one stage. The seamers prevented partnerships from developing and struck regularly towards the end on a good batting wicket. Chris Gayle played the kind of innings viewers are accustomed to - watchful in the beginning, followed by a sixes barrage - and stood firm to remain unbeaten on 85. Super Kings will need to cut through the top order quickly, to take an early advantage. Royal Challengers' Muttiah Muralitharan, though, will have to sit out this game due to the ban on Sri Lanka players in Chennai.
The two teams played out a nailbiter the last time they met in Chennai. Chasing 206, Super Kings had all but lost the game, needing 43 off the last two overs, until Albie Morkel turned the script around with some frenetic hitting. Virat Kohli bowled the most forgettable over of his career, leaking 28. Now as Royal Challengers' captain, will he trust himself with the ball again?
Players to watch
In his two games so far for Royal Challengers, RP Singh turned in exact figures of 3 for 27, both in winning causes. Two of those were important scalps, that of a rampaging Thisara Perera (Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Eoin Morgan (Knight Riders), before the latter could explode in the last four overs. RP, who was bought by the franchise at the auction this year, is proving to be a good acquisition, considering he is one of the leading wicket-takers in the IPL, despite having slipped off the national radar.
R Ashwin was, unusually, brought on as the sixth bowler in the match against Kings XI. The offspinner has been used cleverly as an opening bowler by his captain MS Dhoni at the franchise and national level. Given Ashwin's success against Gayle with the new ball in earlier editions - the IPL 2011 final the most memorable - it will be interesting to see if Dhoni goes back to his tried and trusted strategy. Gayle v Ashwin will be the contest to watch.
Stats and trivia
- Twelve matches between the two teams have produced 3750 runs and 150 wickets, the most runs and wickets involving any two teams.
- Super Kings lead the head-to-head in the IPL with seven wins, while Royal Challengers have five victories.
- Only seven runs separate Gayle and Kohli in the run charts so far, with Kohli keeping the Orange Cap with 198 runs.
"With the way Gayle is going, it will be difficult to keep the orange cap."
Virat Kohli on his rampaging opener.
"Ashwin has bowled well to Gayle in the past and we've used him well. Now we've got a bit more firepower and we have other options against him. We're definitely a stronger bowling side than we've been in previous years."
Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming thinks his team can handle Chris Gayle
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo