Bengaluru, April 21: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), after back-to-back defeats at home, face a litmus test of their collective ability and character when they take on Cheni Super Kings (CSK) in a southern derby game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Wednesday.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Super Kings too are coming off a loss to league leaders Rajasthan Royals but have performed far better than RCB with three wins in four outings while the hosts languish at the bottom of the table with just two points from three matches.
Virat Kohli’s RCB have not looked the part in the three matches despite starting their campaign with an away win over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as defeats to Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians at the M. Chinswamy Stadium here exposed the many chinks in their armour.
Despite the respective track record this season, the two southern giants have always been involved in close matches with Super Kings having won nine of the 17 meetings while RCB have come out on top seven times with one game in 2012 being abandoned due to rain.
The major difference between the two teams this season has been the depth in the Super Kings ranks with proven match winners in contrast to RC,B whose dependence on Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers has made them a tad predictable. Kohli, the third player in the RCB equation, has not quite fired.
Further, Dinesh Karthik, RCB’s most expensive buy this season at Rs.10.5 crore, has maged just 33 runs in three matches, and it is about time that the Tamil du stumper got his act together.
The biggest worry for RCB though is their bowling that has appeared toothless, especially in the continued absence of Aussie strike bowler Mitchell Starc, nursing an injured knee, whose participation in Wednesday’s game is still uncertain.
In contrast, the Super Kings appear a settled unit and the defeat to Royals notwithstanding, the Cheni outfit looks good enough for another win on the morrow against a side that is on the ropes.
For sure, the Super Kings’ plan would be to contain Gayle and de Villiers, the former through spin of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as in the past. The West Indian opener looked out of sorts against Mumbai Indians while de Villiers could not do enough to take the team over the finish line.
Though on the face of it, the two adversaries appear well-matched, the dice is loaded in favour of the Super Kings while RCB need to discover their old magic to keep their hopes alive. IANS