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So, the best time of the year is here. IPL is back! Defending and three-time champions CSK take on three-time finalists RCB in the mother of IPL rivalries. Let’s quickly look at the probable playing XIs before jumping into the predictions.
CSK Probable XI – Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson*, Suresh Raina, Sam Billings*, MS Dhoni(c), Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo*, Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir*, Mohit Sharma, Deepak Chahar.
RCB Probable XI – Shimron Hetmyer*, Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers*, Shivam Dubey, Colin de Grandhomme*/Moeen Ali*, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee*, Mohammed Siraj.
On paper, CSK look the more balanced side with a lot of depth in batting and solid death bowlers in Mohit Sharma and Dwayne Bravo. RCB do not have much batting after ABD, and will be in trouble if wickets fall quickly at the top of the order. Death bowling has always been a huge concern for RCB, and it’s up to Siraj and Southee to plug that end. Umesh Yadav produced some brilliance last year with his lightning fast bowling but proved expensive in the death, and Kohli would ideally be looking at finishing his quota before the 12th or 13th over.
Marcus Stoinis and Coulter-Nile joining the side a little later will provide some stability and options, but with this current squad, RCB will have to check all the boxes to get over the line, or it most likely looks like another drubbing at the hands of CSK.
MATCH PREDICTION: CSK edge RCB in a high-scoring thriller.