IPL: Bangalore to play for pride as CSK test looms
With their hopes of making the playoff crushed, a shattered Royal Challengers Bangalore have to play for pride against title-contenders Chennai Super Kings in their last league match of the IPL-7 in Bangalore on Saturday.
RCB’s hopes were dashed after they fell to a 30-run defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Virat Kohli, who could do no wrong in the last IPL, (he scored over 600 runs), is now in the eye of the storm for RCB's doomed campaign.
However, the RCB skipper will be eyeing a consolation win to bid a graceful adieu to the tournament. But considering Chennai’s current form, the task seems quite a big one for him.
The formidable CSK have already qualified for the playoffs and would like to bounce back after they faced a six-wicket rout at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men would also be gunning for revenge against the RCB, who pulled off a five-wicket win in a thrilling match on May 18.
Image: Royal Challengers Bangalore players
RCB have become over-dependent on Yuvraj
The batting lineup, which looked strong on paper before the tournament, has let the RCB down on more than one occasion.
The poor form of explosive opener Chris Gayle and stocky pocket-dynamite Parthiv Patel, has exposed the frailties of the lineup, which is currently over-relying on Yuvraj.
The left-hander has done reasonably well but the see-saw opening arrangements of Patel and Yogesh Takawale has not clicked when faced with good attacks.
RCB can, however, count on Virat Kohli's return to form after the captain scored his first half century this season against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The disappointment for the home side has been the bowling department. Except Yezuvendra Chahal and Mitchell Starc, their bowling has struggled.
Image: Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli
Dhoni's average best by a Chennai player this season
All but assured of a berth in the play-offs, CSK would be aiming to quickly get over the shock losses against Kolkata Knight Riders and Hyderabad.
Chennai are currently second on the table with 16 points from eight wins and five losses in 13 matches.
Opener Dwayne Smith, who has contributed well to CSK's campaign so far and will look to continue the form to enter the playoffs with confidence.
Faf du Plessis, however, remains a slight concern as he is yet to come up with a noteworthy knock for his side.
Dhoni got his first fifty of the season and is going about his job without making any big statements with his bat.
The India star averages over 44 -- the best by a Chennai player in this IPL -- and his tally of runs reads 280 in 13 innings, including eight unbeaten knocks.
On the bowling front, pacer Mohit Sharma has been the bowling star for Chennai this season, having taken 18 wickets at an impressive average of 15.22.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), Chris Gayle, Yogesh Takawale, AB de Villiers, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Rana, Mitchell Starc, Abu Nechim, Yuzvendra Chahal, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ashok Dinda, Ravi Rampaul, Vijay Zol, Shadab Jakati, Albie Morkel, Sandeep Warrier, Harshal Patel, Tanmay Mishra, Rilee Rossouw, Varun Aaron, Parthiv Patel
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina, David Hussey, Ravindra Jadeja, Mithun Manhas, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishwar Pandey, Mohit Sharma, Samuel Badree, Faf du Plessis, John Hastings, Matt Henry, Ben Hilfenhaus, Dwayne Bravo, Ashish Nehra, Baba Aparajith, Pawan Negi, Ronit More and Vijay Shankar.
Image: MS Dhoni celebrates his half-century