MA Chidambaram stadium, Chepauk, Chennai
CSK- Loss, Win,
RCB- Win, Loss, Win, Win,
When Dhoni’s Super Kings face Kohli’s Challengers on Sunday, there will be only a few watching that will bet against these two teams reaching the final 4. CSK, purely on reputation and depth, cannot be beaten in the longer run. And Royal Challengers, with their current form and batting order, are always a sure bet on these pitches. And of course, there’s Chris Gayle.
Chennai Super Kings
(2-time Champions)The strongest team in the league’s history showed up the other Kings at their own home ground at Mohali. The Kings XI Punjab team was ripped apart and given an everlasting lesson by a CSK team that destroyed them by 10 wickets. Mike Hussey was dropped once, and given a reprieve by the third umpire- in a shocking decision that, only the other day, Tendulkar had succumbed to. That’s all he needed to turn it on, and with Vijay ailing himself back into form, the game was over before Preity Zinta could flash her dimples.
It was only a matter of time before a rusty CSK team turned on the style, and it’s come far too early for the comfort of other teams. They’re especially intimidating when their top order is firing, with Bravo, Dhoni and Raina never particularly out of form in league cricket.
Now they take on the only other team that looks as strong as them right now- in their own back den. After losing their first home game to Mumbai Indians, Dhoni and co. will want to flex their muscles just like Gayle often does on his own favorite home Bangalore ground.
Chandi Chowk gangwar
X-factor: Dwayne Bravo. In T20 cricket, look no further than the playing West Indian in each team. Pollard for Mumbai Indians, Cooper for the Royals, Narine for the Riders and Bravo for CSK. Together, they form a World Champion T20 team that play a brand of cricket envied and appreciated by everyone around the world. (shorter format only)
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Chris Gayle went ballistic against a clueless KKR team after failing for two innings in succession. The law of averages does apply to even the burly monster from Jamaica, and once he begins leaving balls to ‘get his eye in’, the opposition bowlers should be scared.
Very, very scared. And then, their captain- who almost came to blows (again) with the other Delhi boy Gambhir- is also in blistering form. Kohli has never really taken to this form of cricket, but is now showing why he is one of the most feared Indian batsmen in the world. He ripped apart Sunrisers a few days ago, and almost did the same to KKR, until a rush of blood got to him. With the top 2 in such form, AB De Villiers- the best batsman in the world- is a buffer. A buffer, you heard that right. With such riches at the top of the batting order, it is little wonder why they keep getting the Orange Cap and even the Purple cap (Vinay Kumar, for a bit). Of course, it will be Gayle with the eventual Orange cap, but as he said, ‘as long as it stays in the team, man’
X-Factor: Chris Gayle. Enough said
Prediction: If Gayle fails this time, there is Kohli, and if Kohli fails too- there is De Villiers. These 3 usually bat the opposition out of the game, no matter what target is set for them. Hence, Dhoni will have a plan up his sleeve- and that will be R. Ashwin, who has great figures against Gayle.I’m going for a CSK win, throwing the league wide open.