Advantage CSK!

Halfway through the IPL season, Royal Challengers Bangalore looked solid with a Top-4 finish looking a strong possibility. And while that is by no means out of reach yet, three losses in the last three games have derailed RCB’s campaign. 

The Faf du Plessis-led outfit will get a chance to put their campaign back on track as they face Chennai Super Kings at the MCA Stadium here on Wednesday.

The form of RCB’s star player Virat Kohli has been the talking point right throughout the tournament. Following a below-par first nine games, Kohli showed signs of finding some form with a half-century against Gujarat Titans in RCB’s last game. 

But his strike rate of just above 100 in that innings seemed to hurt RCB a bit in the final analysis. Kohli has moved up to the opener’s slot, which gives him a bit more time to bat. His performance would be a major factor in this game, not just for the RCB, but Indian cricket in general.

Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, are coming in to this game after an impressive win over Sunrisers Hyderabad at the same venue on May 1. 

In a game where MS Dhoni took over the captaincy from Ravindra Jadeja, two Pune boys dominated the proceedings to help CSK to their third win of the season. 

Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad’s 99, his record 182-run opening wicket stand with Kiwi Devon Conway, who himself scored 85, and left-arm pacer Mukesh Chaudhary’s four-wicket haul were the highlights of the CSK win. 

Gaikwad has scores of 70 and 99 in the two games he has played for the CSK at his home ground this season. And Dhoni & Co will be hoping to see another similar show from their talented opener.

CSK posted their only other 200-plus total of the season, apart from the game against Sunrisers, when the last time these two sides met, at the DY Patil Stadium earlier this season. Hence, CSK will go into the game with a psychological advantage.

It’s a game that has often been labeled as Dhoni v Kohli battle in the past. Both the legends were not the captains of their respective sides going into this IPL. 

Now, with Dhoni back in the leadership role, it will be interesting to see how these two fare in a game, which is crucial for both the teams as far as staying in the qualification hunt is concerned.

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