Chennai Super Kings (CSK) take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in what will be another clash between two of the icons of Indian cricket in Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli. CSK were on a mean winning till they were pegged back by Kolkata Knight Riders, while RCB, who at one time looked like heading straight for the exit door, found a rare win against Mumbai Indians and are hoping for another victory as they attempt to claw their way back towards the top of the table.
RCB, who edged out Mumbai Indians by 14 runs in their last game, will be eager to avenge their five-wicket defeat at home against the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Super Kings, who too will be keen to swiftly get back into the winning mode after suffering two defeats in their last three games.
For the star-studded RCB, the clash is a must-win encounter if it has to stay alive in the tournament and qualify for the play-offs.
While RCB are in the fifth spot, having won three of their eight matches, CSK are still in a comfortable position in second position with six wins from nine games.
A comprehensive eight-wicket defeat against MI on April 28 followed by the six-wicket hammering by the Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday night has shown chinks in the CSK armour, especially in bowling.
The Chennai batsmen are on song and most are among runs with Ambati Rayudu, Australian Shane Watson, West Indian Dwayne Bravo, skipper Dhoni and Suresh Raina contributing when the team needed. Rayudu, especially, has batted well both as an opener and at number four, scoring 391 runs so far.
RCB too have some batting woes to overcome with only Kohli performing consistently, amassing 449 runs in nine matches.
They will be eager to put South African batsman A B de Villiers, who has scored 280 runs in six games, back on the field. He has missed out games due to fever.
These two batsmen are crucial to RCB's hopes. 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.
RCB's primary headache has been their 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.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (capt), 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.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (capt), Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, AB de Villiers, Sarfraz 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.
Match starts at 4 PM IST.
(With PTI inputs)