RCB vs CSK: Finally, the men in yellow sparkle
The 44th match of the IPL 2020 took place between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore. The men from the City of Garden were dressed up in green jerseys as part of the Go Green initiative (the batsmen wearing green jerseys and bright red pads were too shiny requiring the viewers to use coolers to look at the television screens). At last, CSK put up a flawless performance in this season, courtesy of some good performances from fresh faces and much talked about spark from the youngsters. #1 Decent Powerplay The toss went in favor of skipper Kohli and he opted to bat. The RCB’s opening pair of Finch and Padikkal started positively in the powerplay sensing that the scoring might get difficult as they are playing on the used pitch. Finch could not get going big once again and he fell to Sam Curran in the 4th over. Despite that, RCB managed to put a decent score at the end of the powerplay and they ended with 46-1. #2 No real take-off After Padikkal’s dismissal, the two most prized men of the RCB could not go all guns blazing as the slow bowlers from CSK tightened the screws. Santner playing his first game for CSK this season bowled very tight lines and finished his spell with an economy rate of less than 6. Tahir and Jadeja also bowled stump to stump and gave no room for the batsmen to swing their arms. Because of the great understanding and fitness levels that Kohli and ABD share, they were putting pressure on the CSK fielders thereby compensating to an extent for the lack of boundaries in the middle overs. It was a decent partnership of 81 off 72 balls, but it never really took off as the RCB fans would have expected. #3 Fabulous Faf Faf du Plessis – this man is everywhere on the field as far as CSK is concerned. He is 36 years old but never seems like one and is very livewire on the field as if he is in his early 20’s. Stationed at the most important positions in the field, he always delivers for the team. Today he pulled off three catches at the boundary lines of which two were excellent. He has more than 10 catches to his name this season and has stood apart from the rest of the slow-moving men in the field for the yellow team. #4 The Lion King Sam Curran – the most positive outcome coming out of this season for CSK. He has done everything nicely that has been asked of him – opening the batting, pinch-hitting in the middle, bowling in the powerplay, and even in death overs as well. He is also the source of much-required energy in the field. In the game against RCB, he effected three important dismissals of Finch, Kohli, and Ali. The wicket of Kohli was more crucial as he was the well-set batsmen and his dismissal ensured that RCB fell short at least by 10-15 runs. #5 Spark plug connected right With the team chasing 145, Ruturaj Gaikwad started on the right note after multiple failures in the previous games. He played with the right mix of caution and aggression and gave CSK the perfect start on the slow pitch. Helped by a quick cameo from Faf initially, Gaikwad came into his game slowly and rotated the strike keeping the scoreboard ticking consistently. He took the calculated risks then and there and cleared the boundaries comfortably. It was a very good-looking innings from him, bringing up his maiden IPL fifty in the process and one can confidently say that there are many more to come from this youngster. #6 Smooth finish Coming at one down, Rayudu played an aggressive knock and put the pressure straight away on the opposition. His quickfire knock helped the team to bring the required run rate well below 6 and provided ample support for the youngster at the other end as well. After his dismissal, the skipper Dhoni arrived and made sure there is no further loss of wickets for his team in the run chase. Ruturaj Gaikwad was duly awarded the Man of the Match award for his scintillating performance with the bat. #7 The Right Intent It was almost a perfect game for the CSK which they have been yearning for this whole season. Despite losing the toss, the CSK bowlers were right on the mark and they did not give any room for the RCB batsmen to free their arms and exploited the conditions which were similar to what they get in Chennai. They also showed the right intent and approach during the run chase, making it to the winning line without much fuss. The men in green did not adapt to the conditions on offer as the extra pace which they possess proved to be handy for the opposition this time, not for them. After this loss, they are in a tricky position now. Though they are in the top half of the points table, they are facing the table-toppers MI and DC in their next two encounters. So, Kohli and co need to get some things right to make sure they stay in the top 4 at the end of the league stage. On the other hand, CSK has two more games to give the youngsters much-needed exposure and identify the right personnel for the next season. Mathematically they can still make it to the playoffs, but it is a long shot and even a hardcore CSK fan would not be much optimistic about that. But they can play spoilsport for other teams who are vying for a spot in the playoffs. Hopefully, they reiterate today’s performance in the upcoming matches and end the season on a positive note. Cheers!