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Rain threat looms over RCB-CSK clash in Bengaluru

The match between RCB and CSK in Bengaluru on Saturday will decide the final playoff spot

Ashish Pant
17-May-2024
A groundsman at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium brings the covers on as rain started to fall , Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders, Eliminator, IPL 2017, Bangalore, May 17, 2017

The Chinnaswamy Stadium has an excellent drainage system  •  BCCI

The weather in Bengaluru could impact the crucial IPL 2024 match between Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Saturday night.
It's a game that will likely decide the final qualifier for the playoffs, but it's not impossible that the game could be affected by rain.
The Indian Meteorological Department has said "heavy rain/thundershowers associated with gusty winds (40-50kph) are very likely" in some parts of Bengaluru on May 18.
The city has received consistent rainfall over the last couple of weeks after a spell of uncharacteristically hot weather. While it was relatively dry on May 15 and 16, central Bengaluru, where the M Chinnaswamy Stadium is located, had overnight rain that continued into the morning on Friday. It was cloudy all morning on the eve of the match and the forecast had rain and thunderstorms in the evening. But, as it turned out, the promised rain did not arrive with the clouds giving way to relatively clear skies in the evening. Both the teams had long nets sessions without any disruptions.
The forecast for Saturday does not look promising either with accuweather.com saying there could be thunderstorms in parts of Bengaluru, accompanied by showers, in the evening. The temperature around 7.30pm, the match start time, is expected to be around 23°C with a 100% cloud cover.
"We don't try to bring up things that we don't have control over. It's another game for us to push for a playoffs spot and we're really looking ahead to the challenge against a very good team tomorrow"
Dwayne Bravo
It should be noted that the Chinnaswamy Stadium has an excellent drainage system. It is one of the few grounds in India with a subsurface aeration system, which allows play to begin 30 minutes after rain stops.
A washout will end RCB's chances of making the playoffs. Having lost seven of their first eight games, they have won five matches in a row to remain in contention. They currently have 12 points and a net run-rate of 0.387, while CSK are on 14 with an NRR of 0.538. To go past CSK's NRR and make it to the playoffs, assuming a score of 200, RCB need to beat CSK by 18 runs or chase down the target with about 11 balls to spare. A truncated game will make that task tougher.
For CSK, the equation is simple: a win, a washout, or even a narrow defeat is enough for them to join Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the final four.
"The weather and these kind of things we don't have control over," Dwayne Bravo, the CSK bowling coach, said on the eve of the game. "We don't try to bring up things that we don't have control over. It's another game for us to push for a playoffs spot and we're really looking ahead to the challenge against a very good team tomorrow."

Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo