The first game of Saturday’s double-header will see Chennai Super Kings welcoming Royal Challengers Bangalore in Pune. Both the teams are entering the contest with contrasting results in their last games. While Royal Challengers successfully defended 167 against Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings were decimated by Kolkata Knight Riders.
With the tournament well in its business phase, neither of the two teams could afford to lose this game. Chennai Super Kings are currently second in the table with 6 wins in 9 games. On the other hand, Royal Challengers are sixth in the table with 3 wins in 8 games. So while a win will take Super Kings closer to a playoff berth, the same result would keep Royal Challengers in the tournament. With so much on stake in the game, neither of the two teams will give even an inch to each other.
Speaking ahead of the game, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar said that Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni need to alter his tactics.
“The Royal Challengers Bangalore have got a foot in the door to the playoffs with their tense win over the defending champions Mumbai Indians. They cannot afford to lose another match and the game with their southern neighbours Chennai Super Kings gives them the perfect opportunity to get one more win under their belts. Chennai come down to play the game after a thrashing from the Kolkata Knight Riders. They faltered while batting when they were unable to go from a position of 90 at the halfway stage to a score closer to 200.
“The way Kolkata overhauled the target of 177 with more than two overs left to be bowled meant that even a 200 score would not have been safe. What though a score near 200 does is put pressure on the opposition to start well and maintain a scoring rate near 10 runs an over. An early wicket or two puts additional pressure on the chasing team,” he wrote in his column for The Times of India.
Gavaskar further wrote about what Dhoni needs to do to make Super Kings score more. The batting legend insisted that current orange cap holder Ambati Rayudu should be promoted as an opener again.
“Dhoni will have to re-look the tactic of sending Faf du Plessis up the order for it means that the in-form batsman and orange cap holder Ambati Rayudu gets less overs to play. He also has to look for the big shots before getting set and that’s never easy,” he said.
Gavaskar went on to express his surprise over the way Dhoni used Dwayne Bravo against Knight Riders. Ravindra Jadeja and Karn Sharma were promoted ahead of the West Indian while in bowling he bowled just 1.4 overs.
“His non-use of Dwayne Bravo at Eden as a batsman also was hard to understand as the Trinidadian has been in cracking form with both bat and ball than Ravindra Jadeja who is struggling a bit as could be seen with those two dropped catches off Sunil Narine, ” wrote Gavaskar.