Hosts Bangalore desperate to beat Chennai, stay afloat (Preview)

May 2nd, 2008 - 3:23 pm ICT by admin  

Bangalore, May 2 (IANS) With time running out for hosts Bangalore Royal Challengers, they will be desperate to beat Chennai Super Kings in their return match in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here Saturday and keep themselves afloat for the semi-finals. Another defeat at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium Saturday evening will severely dent the Royal Challengers’ hopes of a semi-final berth. In their first match, hosts Chennia had beaten Bangalore by 13 runs Monday.

The Rahul Dravid-led Royal Challengers have lost four of their five matches - some of them by narrow margins — and are languishing at the bottom of the eight-team table. With just one win under their belt, the Royal Challengers will be extra keen to earn the two full points against the only unbeaten team in the Twenty20 tournament.

Batting has let Bangalore down in all five matches, whether chasing a target or setting one. Their highest total has been 181 for five, which they posted while chasing Delhi Daredevils’ 191 Wednesday.

Bangalore won the only match because the Mumbai Indians, batting first and without Sachin Tendulkar, managed just 165 for six and their batsmen were not tested much.

It is surprising that the Royal Challengers have faltered again and again despite having a formidable batting line-up that includes Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher of South Africa, West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Misbah-ul Haq of Pakistan and New Zealander Ross Taylor besides Dravid, Wasim Jaffer and Virat Kohli. They also have some bright local youngsters.

The depressing batting performances seem to have impacted the bowling department too though only in a limited way. It is not that this department is weaker. With speedsters like Zaheer Khan, Dale Steyn of South Africa, Australian Nathan Bracken and Praveen Kumar spinners led by Anil Kumble, the bowling attack cannot be termed weak.

In fact, in three of five matches the bowlers did well to restrict the opposition within the 200-run mark while bowling first. Only once, in the tournament opener against Kolkata Knight Riders, did they allow the opposition to get past 200.

But somehow the Royal Challengers batsmen have failed to match the bowlers’ performances. They will hope that the lady luck would smile on them when they take guard at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium Saturday.

The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, have had a smooth sailing so far and top the points table — eight from four matches. Although Rajasthan Royals also have eight points, they have played one match more.

The Super Kings may have won all their matches, on at least two occasions they were lucky to prevail in tight finishes. The Mumbai Indians ran them close before losing by just six runs. Then Bangalore Royal Challengers failed to overall Super Kings’ 178 for five and lost by 13 runs in the away match in Chennai.

Chennai have a strong batting line-up and capable bowlers, led by Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and fast bowler Makhaya Ntini. But their batting will suffer a bit now with the departure of Australian Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey.

But former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, who has watched the action from the ‘dug in’ so far, besides some of the best home grown talent, are set to step in to overcome the loss of key players.

In fact, with the arrival of South African Makhaya Ntini, Chennai’s bowling has received a boost. His compatriot Albie Morkel, who has played just one match, will give Ntini company, before Muralitharan and others take over the charge as the match progresses.


Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain, wicket-keeper), Jacob Oram, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina, Muttiah Muralitharan, Stephen Fleming, Parthiv Patel (wicket-keeper), Joginder Sharma, Makhaya Ntini, Stephen Fleming, Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Abhinav Mukund, Suresh Kumar, Arun Karthik, Shadab Jakati, Napoleon Einstein, Subramaniam Badrinath, Lakshmipathy Balaji, R. Ashwin, Srikkanth Anirudha, Viraj Vilas Kadbe, Palani Amarnath and Manpreet Gony

Bangalore Royal Challengers: Rahul Dravid (captain), Anil Kumble, Jacques Kallis, Zaheer Khan, Cameron White, Wasim Jaffer, Dale Steyn, Nathan Bracken, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Mark Boucher (wicket-keeper), Misbah-ul-Haq, Ross Taylor, Abdur Razzak, K.P. Appanna, Balachandra Akhil, Jagadeesh Arunkumar, Bharat Chipli, Shreevats Goswami, Sunil Joshi, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Devraj Patil and Vinay Kumar

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