IPL 2021: RCB vs CSK – MS Dhoni's brigade have the upper hand over Virat Kohli's platoon
Chennai Super Kings have the advantage going into their fixture against Royal Challengers Bangalore tonight
Royal Challengers Bangalore are the underdogs going into this battle against three-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings at the Sharjah Stadium. Not only is history against them in this fixture, but RCB also had a demoralizing start to the league.
Facing Kolkata Knight Riders, the batting order of RCB suffered a spectacular collapse and they got bundled out for just 92 runs. The target was never big enough to be defendable anyway and Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer made sure KKR got to the total inside 10 overs, thus inflicting a big defeat on Kohli's men. Although they are third in the IPL table at the moment, RCB have cause of concern when it comes to their NRR of -0.706.
Three-time champs Chennai Super Kings began the second leg of IPL 2021 in UAE in tremendous fashion. Despite not getting a score big enough against defending champions Mumbai Indians, CSK managed to defend it with ease and ended up winning by 20 runs. CSK are second in the table as things stand but a win here would enable them to get to the top once again.
History is on CSK's side against RCB
The two sides have faced each other 28 times in IPL history. Chennai Super Kings have been the more competitive side by a mile and have won 18 games. Royal Challengers Bangalore have only won on nine occasions while one match ended without a result.
The last time these two sides faced each other was at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai during the first leg of IPL 2021. On that occasion, Ravindra Jadeja produced an all-round masterclass for the ages and stung RCB hard. He scored 30 runs off Harshal Patel's final over to remain unbeaten on 62 off 28 deliveries and helped CSK post a total of 191.
Jadeja then hurt RCB with the ball in hand. He registered figures of 3/13 in his four-over spell and picked up the wickets of Washington Sundar, Glenn Maxwell, and AB De Villiers. The 32-year-old was also sharp in the field as usual and effected a tremendous run out to get rid of Dan Christian as CSK ended up winning by 69 runs!
Can the venue at Sharjah play a role?
The pitch at Sharjah is unique as it is quite slow and as a result, high scores tend to be easily achievable here as was the case during the group stages of IPL 2020. The shorter boundaries also help the batters in collecting plenty of sixes.
Whoever wins the toss should opt to chase as the dew factor helps them during the run-chase. In fact, of the 56 matches played on this ground, 36 have been won by teams batting second. The average first innings score here is close to 160.
RCB do have batters like Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Glenn Maxwell, and AB De Villiers who can make the most of the conditions in Sharjah. MS Dhoni needs to get his matchups right on point if he wants to avoid getting assaulted by the RCB batting order. However, CSK have been the more in-form side heading into this match and will be expected to go on top of the table once again.