About the Match
It’s been a roller-coaster of an IPL season and a surprise result when Mumbai Indians defeated Chennai Super Kings to book a berth in the finals. CSK will now have to fight it out with Royal Challengers Bangalore, who kept their hopes alive by registering a comprehensive win against the Royals in the eliminator, on 22nd May at Ranchi. CSK and RCB are quite formidable at the moment and they will definitely come out all guns blazing to keep themselves in the race to the finish line.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
It was a scintillating show of grit and determination as they posted 180 runs on board against the Royals and won the match by a huge margin of 71 runs. After losing Gayle and Kohli, AB de Villiers took charge and belted a heroic 66 off 38 balls. He found an able partner in Mandeep Singh, who kept the scoreboard ticking with his astounding 54 off 34. It was a do or die situation but the bowlers held on to their nerves and demolished the opposition with a trail of wickets. Chahal, Wiese, Patel and Aravind put up a tremendous effort to claim 2 wickets while Starc dismissed one wicket, to completely annihilate the opponents. They have emerged as a tough unit to crack when under pressure; while the top order batsmen are explosive with getting the big runs, the middle order ensures to get the job done. Kohli will inspire his mates to come out all guns blazing and with Gayle’s stunning form the team can look ahead to good times. They will need to strategize well against CSK, which has better track record at this stage of IPL, and execute their plan to perfection.
Chennai Super Kings
It was totally uncharacteristic for CSK to give up on the run-chase for 188 runs against hosts Mumbai Indians, losing quick wickets in the middle overs. Smith’s dismissal for a duck was a big blow but he will surely make a comeback in the next match; Plessis was the highest scorer with 45 off 34 but others like Raina, Hussey and Dhoni succumbed to pressure against a revived Mumbai attack. They could only get to 162 runs, lacking a solid partnership in the middle; on the bowling front, Bravo took 3 wickets while Nehra, Jadeja and Mohit claimed a wicket each but they leaked too many easy runs. The batsmen will need to be cautious against RCB bowlers like Starc, Wiese and Chahal; overall, they have the necessary experience in players like Smith and Hussey, who will open the innings and a strong middle order which has been consistent in getting the big runs on board. They need to come back with confidence and put up a better show on Friday if they want to make it to the finals.
It will be a fierce contest between two time champions CSK and 2nd time semi-final qualifiers RCB, both of whom will leave no stone unturned to make it to the finals. Crowd support will be with Chennai Super Kings as this crucial game is being played at Ranchi, Dhoni's home ground. While CSK has the perfect combination of experienced batsmen and in-form bowlers, RCB comes into this match at the back of a massive win, but CSK have been through these kinds of situations many times before and in the battle of nerves where crowd can really play the role of 12th man, I think CSK are certainly better placed to win this match too.