Bangalore look to upset the neighbours
May 14, 2009
Start time 12.30 (10.30 GMT, 16.00 IST)
Bangalore Royal Challengers' flagging campaign may have been boosted by the win over Kolkata Knight Riders but their chances of making the semi-finals remain slim. Their remaining three matches are all against tough opposition: Chennai Super Kings, Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils. The main worry for them remains the inconsistent batting, particularly as they cannot expect to continue getting the freebies the generous Kolkata bowlers doled out to them.
Their first challenge is to end the winning streak of the Chennai, who after an indifferent start have strung together five successes in a row. To achieve that, they need to find a way to throttle the marauding Chennai top order: Matthew Hayden, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath and MS Dhoni have combined to ensure totals of at least 160 in each of the seven matches they batted first.
Dhoni, who was critical of his team's bowlers earlier in the season, will have little to complain about now. Albie Morkel has been providing breakthroughs in the first over, Muttiah Muralitharan has proven hard to get away and the Indian contingent of L Balaji, Shadab Jakati and Sudeep Tyagi is also firing. A win against Bangalore will push Chennai to the brink of a final four slot - they will remain in second place but will have at least a two-point cushion over the chasing pack.
Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)
Royal Challengers Bangalore - WLLWW After two demoralising defeats the win against Kolkata was the boost Bangalore needed. Problems persist though. The batting has been let down by the poor showing of the domestic batsmen with Robin Uthappa and Virat Kohli being particularly disappointing. The bowling at the death was clueless against a resourceful Brendon McCullum and needs improving, especially against a side like Chennai, where it is standing-room only when it comes to savage hitters.
Chennai Super Kings - WWWWW
With a form guide that couldn't get any better, Chennai are bursting with confidence having toppled dangerous opponents like Delhi , Rajasthan Royals and Deccan in their recent matches. The only area of concern during their four-day break would have been the fielding, with several catches going down in every match.
Watch out for
Ross Taylor: The relentless power-hitting during his onslaught against Kolkata was the breath of fresh air Bangalore needed, given that their line-up is packed with orthodox batsmen not renowned for clearing the boundary. Bangalore's progress in the tournament depends on how well Taylor fares against better attacks in the remaining games.
Albie Morkel: Regarded by some as the leading Twenty20 allrounder in the world, he has been adequate with the ball but hasn't found top gear yet with the bat. He had wowed the Chennai crowd with several hits clearing the roof of the Chepauk stadium last season and a return to form will strengthen an already fearsome line-up.
The big score continues to elude Jesse Ryder, but his frugal medium-pace bowling and the solid opening stand with Jacques Kallis against Kolkata should provide him another opportunity. B Akhil could make way for Praveen Kumar which will also give the side more batting depth.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (probable) 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Jacques Kallis, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Rahul Dravid, 5 Ross Taylor, 6 Virat Kohli/Rajesh Bishnoi, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 R Vinay Kumar, 10 Anil Kumble (capt), 11 KP Appanna/ Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Chennai are unlikely to make changes to a combination that served them well against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.
Chennai Super Kings (probable) 1 Matthew Hayden, 2 M Vijay, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 S Badrinath, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Albie Morkel, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Sudeep Tyagi, 9 Shadab Jakati, 10 L Balaji, 11 Muttiah Muralitharan.
Chennai outclassed Bangalore when the two sides met earlier this season in Port Elizabeth, thumping them by 92 runs, the largest margin of victory in the tournament so far. The teams split their two contests last year: Bangalore caving in spectacularly at the Chinnaswamy Stadium to lose by 13 runs, Chennai returning the favour at Chepauk to go down by 14 runs.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo