The Chennai Super Kings will look to regain that top spot in the IPL 2015 points table with a victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.
With the Rajasthan Royals picking up their first win in IPL 2015 in six matches with the comfortable beating of the Delhi Daredevils, CSK have moved down to second spot, albeit having played two games less. A victory should get them back to that top spot, but it will be far from easy against the flying RCB.
CSK have been adept at putting in solid performances in all three facets of the game – batting, bowling and fielding – this season, and all three departments will need to be at their best again to stop the RCB juggernaut.
Since losing to CSK at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on 22 April, RCB have won three of their four matches, with the other one getting washed out when they were in a strong position having smashed 200 runs in the first innings.
The batting finally seems to be in working order, with the likes of Mandeep Singh and Sarfaraz Khan taking a bit of the burden off the big three of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers. The fact that the three superstars have not needed to be at their absolute best during the unbeaten run speaks volumes about the potential of this RCB side, and CSK will know just getting the top three out will not win them the game anymore.
In that win over RCB, where Chris Gayle was surprisingly rested, a couple of weeks back, CSK showed their power with the bat, putting on 181 in the first innings, which, to be honest, is a par score at best in Bengaluru, before stopping the much-vaunted RCB batting lineup 154.
Ashish Nehra was the main man with the ball for CSK, finishing with stunning figures of 4-0-10-4. Nehra has gone off the boil a little bit in the last couple of games, and MS Dhoni will certainly want his strike bowler to come up trumps at their fortress in Chennai.
Only toss time will tell if R Ashwin will be there to back up Nehra, with the offie missing the last couple of matches – both of them away – with a finger injury. CSK have missed the services of Ashwin in those two games – against KKR and SRH -- both of which they lost, and Dhoni will certainly hope that injured finger has healed well enough for the spinner to bowl.
Ravindra Jadeja, the other main spinner in the side, has looked bereft of confidence, with Dhoni not even using the left-armer in the last game against SRH. While Pawan Negi has done reasonably well, there is little doubt that Ashwin brings another dimension and class to the CSK attack, especially in the spin-aiding wickets of Chepauk.
RCB have primarily relied on their faster bowlers to do the trick, with only Yuzvendra Chahal finding a permanent spot in the side as a spinner. But, going by the way the pitch played in the last game – CSK vs KKR – in Chennai, Kohli might have to consider playing an extra spinner.
While the bowling is likely to win you the match on Monday, the exciting aspect of this game is the batsmen, especially the top three of both sides. Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum have been outstanding up top for CSK and if they get going, there will be plenty of sixes and fours raining at the Chidambaram.
Mitchell Starc will do his best to stop the McCullum assault – much like he did in the World Cup final -- while Nehra and the rest will definitely come under pressure from Gayle, Kohli and ABD, which is why this should be a cracker of a contest.
Where to Watch Live
Get the Match Report and Highlights HERE
CSK vs RCB IPL 2015 Match 37 is scheduled to begin at 4 pm IST (6.30 am ET, 11.30 am BST) with live coverage in India on Sony Six, Sony Kix, Sony Max and Sony Aath. Starsports.com and Hotstar will provide the live streaming option for viewers in India.
Audience in the US can catch all the IPL 2015 action live on ESPN, while the live stream option is on ESPN Cricket. Sky Sports is the place to go to watch CSK vs RCB Live in the UK and Europe, while the match can also be live streamed on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports.
Viewers across the world can go to Cricketgateway.com to watch Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore live.