Defending champions Chennai Super Kings are set to host the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament opener at Chennai’s M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday, March 23.
Head to Head Overall Stats: Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore have gone head to head in 22 games, with the CSK undoubtedly leading the clash line by securing 15 of those.
Head to Head in Chennai: Bangalore have visited the Chennai den on seven occasions and have managed to grab the honors on just one occasion (2008 by 14 runs). Since then the venue has been an unscathed fort for the hosts, which certainly gives them an edge ahead of the clash.
Ambati Rayudu (602 runs) and Shane Watson (555 runs) were the team’s most consistent run-getters in 2018. Whilst Rayudu played a key role during the league stage, and the latter was at his devastating best during the playoffs and also played an unbeaten 117-run knock in the season finale to guide the CSK towards their title triumph.
Meanwhile, the presence of Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni in the middle order strengthen the lineup even further, and one may see them making things tough for the opponents.
Shardul Thakur topped the CSK wicket charts by claiming 16 wickets in 2018. Thakur along with Dwayne Bravo (14 wickets) were the team’s key strikers last season, and the team will need them to come out with a similar show this year. While Deepak Chahar and Ravindra Jadeja will be skipper’s go to men when it comes to spin. Both have been in good touch in recent times and they will be expected to slow down the scoring rate and crack few scalps in the middle.
Expected Playing XI
MS Dhoni (C), Dwayne Bravo, David Willey, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Sam Billings.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
On the flipside, the RCB had an awful campaign last season and failed to reach the playoffs after securing just six wins in 14 games. The team boasts some of the big names in their ranks, and the skipper will have a daunting task to keep them together and utilize their skills accordingly.
Virat Kohli has been in phenomenal touch in recent times and is just 95 runs away from becoming the seventh player to score 8000 runs in the shortest format. While the presence of Mr. 360 AB de Villers is enough to create goosebumps in the opponent’s bowlers. These two were the teams leading run scorers last season and are likely to pose a major threat to Chennai.
Umesh Yadav was among the top five bowlers last season with 20 wickets in 14 games and he will be backed by Kohli to have a similar impact by picking a few early breakthroughs against Chennai. He, along with Mohammad Siraj and Tim Southee forms a daring pace attack and it will not be easy for opponents to face them. Yuzvendra Chahal will be seen serving the spinner duties during the middle overs, and he will be eager to put roadblocks in the Chennai momentum.
Expected Playing XI
Virat Kohli (C), Parthiv Patel, Moeen Ali, AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Akshdeep Nath, Shivam Dube, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, and Yuzvendra Chahal.