Chennai: Defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will look to shrug off their disappointing loss against the Kings XI Punjab as they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their third IPL match on Saturday.
After winning a thriller against Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening encounter of IPL by two runs, the CSK were in for a rude shock after having scored 188 when little known KXIP opener Paul Valthaty single-handedly guided his team to a six-wicket win in Mohali last Wednesday.
Even their opponents RCB who started their campaign with convincing victory over Kochi Tuskers Kerala have somewhat lost the plot with back-to-back defeats against Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers respectively. Both teams will be desperate to get back on winning track in the match that will be played at the Chepauk on Saturday.
While batting isn`t concern for CSK as most of the top-order batsmen barring Suresh Raina have had one decent knock in the last two games, it`s the bowling that will be a concern for the defending champions.
Skipper Dhoni will surely find it as a relief that Australian seamer Doug Bollinger who was nursing an ankle injury is back in the competitive circuit and is available for selection. The fact that Dhoni missed a potent weapon at the death during the KXIP match makes Bollinger`s case even stronger.
The addition of Michael Hussey who has joined the team after a successful ODI series in Bangladesh will be a big boost for the `Men in Yellow`.
Ravichandran Ashwin, inarguably CSK`s best bowler in the shortest format was punished during the initial overs. The CSK team had a gruelling three-hour session at the Chepauk on Friday.
The RCB on the otherhand have some catching upto do in both departments of the game. Against Mumbai Indians, their batsmen failed to up the ante even in the slog overs while against Chargers, their bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Bharath Chipli. Skipper Daniel Vettori will have to think seriously about their batting combination.
Their decision to promote Zaheer Khan up the order backfired badly against the Chargers and one would expect that the RCB team management doesn`t take any frivolous decision against a formidable side like the CSK.
However it is Zaheer`s bowling that has been a concern for the RCB during the first three matches as India`s highest wicket-taker in the World Cup looks tired. Also the rhythm bowler that he is, Zaheer has been punished a bit by the likes Ambati Rayudu and Davy Jacobs. India`s pace spearhead will certainly be itching to get back with bang. It is still not clear whether Australian speedster Dirk Nannes, who missed the last match due to injury will be making a comeback for this tie.
RCB`s biggest problem has been two of their star players in this format, Tillakaratne Dilshan and AB de Villiers haven`t yet fired as they are expected to.
One thing is for sure though. Cameron White is all but certain to get a look-in as RCB will surely need someone who provides them a bit of momentum while batting. Virat Kohli`s form however has been reassuring as the youngster scored 71 in the last match against Chargers.