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Sunny morning gives way to cloudy evening as RCB wait to take on CSK

There is a 60% chance of rain around the match start time

Ashish Pant
18-May-2024
The morning of Royal Challengers Bengaluru's (RCB's) high-stakes IPL 2024 game against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) was bright and sunny, but as the day progressed, the sun was mostly out of view, hidden behind clouds. There remains a forecast of thundershowers and a 60% chance of rain around the time the match is scheduled to start, at 7.30pm local time.
It's a game that will decide the identity of the last team in the IPL 2024 playoffs, but the weather could have a big say in how things pan out at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The Indian Meteorological Department has predicting a "generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers".
Fans who are expected to fill the ground can, however, take heart from the way things went on match eve. Rain and thunderstorms had been forecast for the evening but, while it was cloudy for the most part, the rain never arrived in central Bengaluru. Both RCB and CSK trained for over an hour without any disruption.
The city has received consistent rainfall over the last couple of weeks after a spell of uncharacteristically hot weather. However, it has remained relatively dry in most places in the last three days.
Even if it does rain, the Chinnaswamy Stadium has an excellent drainage system and is one of the few grounds in India with a subsurface aeration system, which allows play to begin 30 minutes after the rain stops.
RCB's chances of making the playoffs will end in case of a washout. After losing seven of their first eight matches, they made a sterling comeback, winning their next five games. They are currently on 12 points with 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.
"The good thing is that it is crystal clear what we need to do," Malolan Rangarajan, RCB's head of scouting, said on the eve of the game. "Doesn't matter if it is a 20-over game or a five-, six-over game. For us, it might be 3.1 or 3.4 [the number of overs in which RCB may have to chase the target in case of a five-over game] because there are other intricacies within that. We are not going to be going inside thinking we need to restrict 18 runs or 11 balls. We are going to go there, try to stay consistent with what we have done."
For CSK, the equation is simple: a win, a washout, or even a narrow defeat is enough for them to make it to the final four.
"The weather and these kind of things we don't have control over," Dwayne Bravo, the CSK bowling coach, said. "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