Preview: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will aim to improve their bowling and fielding and return to their winning ways when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (IPL) in a crunch Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter on Saturday.
Batting-heavy CSK slipped to a six-wicket defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Thursday night due to some sloppy fielding and a poor bowling effort.
The KKR spinners bowled superbly to keep the MS Dhoni-led team to 177/5. Shubman Gill and Dinesh Karthik then made the most of some inexperienced bowling by the likes of K.M. Asif to get KKR past the line.
Ravindra Jadeja also dropped KKR opener Sunil Narine twice on 6 off consecutive deliveries.
CSK also lost comprehensively to Mumbai Indians by eight wickets on April 28, resulting in them dropping to second spot in the points table.
The CSK batters have been doing well with Ambati Rayudu, Australian Shane Watson, West Indian Dwayne Bravo, skipper Dhoni and Suresh Raina contributing regularly.
Rayudu, especially, has batted well both as an opener and at number four, scoring 391 runs so far.
Dhoni, who remained unbeaten on 43 against KKR, has reminded his critics that he is not past his prime and will be expected to continue his purple patch with the bat against Virat Kohli-led RCB.
The CSK bowlers had been generally impressive with Shardul Thakur at the top.
But in their defeats against MI and KKR, the bowling attack could not defend the scores put up by their batters and appears to be missing the services of injured Deepak Chahar.
The pacers and the spinners led by veteran Harbhajan Singh need to play to potential to restrict a devastating RCB batting line-up, spearheaded by Kohli.
RCB, who beat Mumbai by 14 runs in their last game, will be eager to avenge their five-wicket defeat at home against CSK.
It is a must-win game for Kohli and Co who are in the fifth spot, having won three of their eight matches.
RCB too have some batting problems with only Kohli leading from the front, amassing 449 runs in nine matches.
RCB will expect to welcome back star South African batsman AB de Villiers, who missed out games due to fever.
He has scored 280 runs in six games and has looked in fine touch.
They also require Quinton de Kock (201 runs in 8 games) and Brendon McCullum (122 runs in 5 games), who are yet to play to their potential, to chip in.
Kohli’s bone of contention has been RCB’s death bowling as they have leaked runs in this phase.
Umesh Yadav (11 wickets) and Yuzvendra Chahal (7 wickets) have stamped their class, but Mohammad Siraj and Washington Sunder (four wickets) have performed below par.
CSK: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N. Jagadeesan, David Willey.
RCB: Virat Kohli (captain), Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Corey Anderson, Parthiv Patel, Tim Southee.