Monday, April 20, 2009

Bangalore look to build on momentum

Bangalore's batsmen could do worse than take some tips from Rahul Dravid, who scored a cool 66 against Rajasthan.

Match facts
April 20, 2009
Start time 16.30pm (14.30GMT)

Big Picture
Midway through the second match on the opening day, it appeared Monday's game would feature the two losers from Saturday. The stunning fightback from the Bangalore Royal Challengers means, though, that the Chennai Super Kings will be playing catch-up when the two teams clash in Port Elizabeth.

It'll also be the first game in that venue, so both teams will have to assess the conditions afresh and plan accordingly. The batting - apart from Rahul Dravid and, to some extent, Matthew Hayden - was disappointing for both teams, and the trick could well be to scale down the target score and instead keep wickets in hand at the start. Dravid handled the conditions expertly; now it's for Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa and Ross Taylor to learn some lessons from that knock and tighten up.

Chennai were patchy with the bat too, and unlike Bangalore, their bowlers didn't run through the opposition line-up. These are still early days in the tournament, but another defeat will make Chennai the early laggards of IPL season 2, which would be a huge comedown from their heroics last year.

Player form guide
Bangalore: Dravid and Anil Kumble were the obvious form players from the first game, but all the Bangalore bowlers did their jobs. The onus is now on the batsmen to adapt to the conditions and ensure that a 17 for 3 situation doesn't happen again.

Chennai: Hayden didn't show much rustiness, while MS Dhoni fought hard towards the end, but the rest of the batting needs to step up. The bowling was inconsistent too, with Andrew Flintoff letting the team down in the final overs.

Watch out for
Steyn v Hayden: Dale Steyn had a hand to play in hastening Hayden's retirement, dismissing him three times for 58 runs in 107 deliveries in the Test series in Australia. Hayden will want some revenge, and he'll have a fair chance in a format that is far more loaded in favour of batsmen.

Friendly fire
Pietersen v Flintoff: The two England big guns will be pitted against each other, and expect sparks to fly when Flintoff comes racing in to bowl to Kevin Pietersen.

Team news
Bangalore have little reason to change the combination that worked the magic against Rajasthan: the bowling attack was fabulous, and the batting, while disappointing, has too much class at the top to warrant a change after one failure.

Bangalore Royal Challengers (probable) 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Robin Uthappa (wk), 3 Ross Taylor, 4 Kevin Pietersen (capt), 5 Rahul Dravid, 6 Virat Kohli, 7 Balachandra Akhil, 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 R Vinay Kumar, 10 Anil Kumble, 11 Dale Steyn.

Chennai will probably include Albie Morkel for the unimpressive Jacob Oram, while Muttiah Muralitharan could come in to beef up the bowling attack.

Chennai Super Kings (probable) 1 Parthiv Patel, 2 Matthew Hayden, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Andrew Flintoff, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 S Badrinath, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Joginder Sharma, 9 Manpreet Gony, 10 L Balaji, 11 Muttiah Muralitharan.

Head-to-head record
The two teams split the matches they played against each other last season, and the margins were almost identical too: Chennai won the first won game by 13 runs, while Bangalore won by a 14-run margin in the return clash.