On a roll after five wins on the trot, Chennai Super Kings, under charismatic skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will guard against stepping on the banana skin when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.
Dhoni’s men didn’t exactly have a rollicking start to their IPL campaign, winning just one of their first five matches.
The win against Deccan Chargers, however, marked the beginning of their spectacular five-match winning streak and Anil Kumble’s men would require something extraordinary to halt the Chennai juggernaut.
Matthew Hayden has been key to Chennai’s success with his characteristic power-hitting that has often given the side a flying start, making most of the first six overs.
Suresh Raina has been trailing Hayden closely in the run-getters’ chart and his natural ability to counter-attack right from ball one has served the team well.
Dhoni himself too has shrugged off his indifferent form and looks in good nick, while S Badrinath finally seems at peace with his role in the side.
And even when the batsmen tended to falter, Chennai’s bowlers have bent their back to atone for that, which explains their second place in the points table with six wins from 10 outings.
For them, Sudeep Tyagi and L Balaji have done a decent job so far, while Muttiah Muralitharan has been both among the wickets and unplayable. Even Raina has rolled his arms to good effect, proving quite parsimonious with his left-arm spin.
In contrast, Kumble doesn’t have equal riches at his disposal and it would take quite an effort to upset Chennai’s applecart.
Bangalore’s top order has been pretty inconsistent. Jacques Kallis played well in patches, while both Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa have let the side down.
Often, the side needed Rahul Dravid to save them the blushes but overall, it has been a pretty slipshod show by the side which is placed sixth after managing just five wins from 11 outings.
Ross Taylor’s return to form, however, would please Kumble, who would expect the Kiwi batsman to maintain the form.
Bangalore’s bowling has looked quite mundane and it was against Kumble’s men that the beleaguered Kolkata Knight Riders posted its highest score of the tournament on Tuesday.
In their previous meeting, Chennai plastered Bangalore by 92 runs. While revenge would definitely fuel Kumble’s men tomorrow, it may not be enough to humble the Super Kings.