Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will look to pick up the pace in the middle overs and hope their inspirational skipper MS Dhoni takes the field despite a knee niggle against fierce rivals Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the eagerly awaited Southern derby in IPL 2023 in Bengaluru on Monday (April 17).
It will be a special atmosphere at the Chinnaswamy Stadium when the two teams battle to gain momentum after an up-and-down campaign so far. All the tickets for the game have been already sold out.
The knee has been troubling Dhoni since the start of the tournament but he has ended up playing all four games so far. CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan expects the skipper to lead against RCB.
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“I don’t think he will miss the game but we will have to wait and see till tomorrow evening,” he told PTI.
Dhoni was seen limping a bit after the loss to Rajasthan Royals (RR) at home earlier this week, raising questions over his availability for the RCB game.
Even though Dhoni has been coming out to bat at number eight, he has managed to make an impact and almost took his team over the line in the last-ball finish against the Royals.
Also read: IPL 2023: Dhoni nursing knee injury, says Fleming
Openers Ruturaj Gaikward and Devon Conway have been doing their job and Ajinkya Rahane too seems to have reinvented himself while batting at number three but the middle-order needs to do more.
The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube and Ravindra Jadeja have not been able to get going. Dube especially has struggled to gain fluency in all his four innings and that reflects in his strike rate of 118.84.
The bowling department has been hit by injuries, first they lost Deepak Chahar and now Sisanda Magala is expected to be out of two weeks at least. Star all-rounder Ben Stokes is likely to regain full fitness by end of the month.
Also read: IPL 2023: Fans slam RCB over no ticket sales for CSK game
RCB, on the other hand, got a much-needed win on Saturday afternoon and will be aiming to build on the performance against Delhi Capitals.
Virat Kohli’s form has been the biggest positive for them. Kohli collecting boundaries with his sublime off-side play is enough to create discomfort in the opposition camp and will be fired up for an encore against CSK.
Skipper Faf du Plessis too has led from the front while batting at the top alongside Kohli.
Like CSK, RCB’s middle-order is yet to unlock its potential. Glenn Maxwell has batted at an impressive strike rate but the likes of Shahbaz Ahmed and Mahipal Lomror can do better.
After a stellar last season, Dinesh Karthik has under-performed in the finishers role and will be itching to change that.
With the ball, Mohammed Siraj has been the stand out bowler and breathed fire in his opening spell against Delhi. The team would be hoping its death overs specialist Harshal Patel returns to his best having leaked close to 11 runs per over over the past four games.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c & wk), Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Sisanda Magala, Shivam Dube, Dwaine Pretorius, Ahay Mandal, Nishant Sindhu, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Mitchell Santner, Subharnshu Senapati, Simarjeet Singh, Matheesa Pathirana, Mahesh Theekshana, Bhagath Verma, Prashant Solanki, Shaikh Rasheed, and Tushar Deshpande.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Faf du Plessis (c), Virat Kohli, Mohammad Siraj, Harshal Patel, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shahbaz Ahmed, Anuj Rawat, Akash Deep, Mahipal Lomror, Finn Allen, Suyash Prabhudesai, Karn Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, David Willey, Wayne Parnell, Vyshak Vijaykumar, Himanshu Sharma, Manoj Bhandage, Rajan Kumar, Avinash Singh, Sonu Yadav, and Michael Bracewell.
The match starts at 7:30 PM IST