Bangalore: Beaten in their respective last games, both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings will be hungry to prevail over each other in the battle of wits when they lock horns in an Indian Premier League match here on Wednesday.
The Super Kings are placed second in the table with six points from four games, while the Royal Challengers are languishing at the bottom with just two points from three outings.
Under pressure after back-to-back defeats against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, the Royal Challengers will be keen to regain the momentum, but would face an uphill task against the two-time champions, who would be looking to earn the number one position in the points table.
The Bangalore outfit has won just one out of their last three matches and the onus would be on the star-studded batting line-up to improve the success rate.
There is enough firepower in RCB batting with the likes of Chris Gayle, the in-form AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli in the ranks.
No other batsman knows the Twenty20 format better than Gayle. Out of 53 occasions, the destructive West Indian has emerged as the top-scorer on 25 occasions.
Gayle would be desperate to brush aside an unusual innings of 10 runs off 24 balls in the previous match against Mumbai Indians, and adopt back his aggressive approach.
Surprisingly, Gayle has the dubious record of lowest strike rate of 41.66 in IPL history for an innings of 10 runs or more.
The bowling, meanwhile, looks a tad weak in the absence of Mitchell Starc. Varun Aaron has failed to make an impression so far and Ashok Dinda might be included the playing XI.
The spin department is being handled by Yuzvendra Chahal, who Kohli relies on a lot, and he would like to continue with his form.
On the other hand, CSK have clicked in almost all departments of the game so far in the tournament. They won their first three games against Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, before faltering against the current table-toppers Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad in the last match.
Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith form one the deadliest opening combinations in T20 format. While McCullum has been a nightmare for bowlers, Smith has been in morale-destroying form, which was reflected in his 30-ball 62 against the Mumbai Indians.
Both the openers will be looking to carry forward the form against RCB.
Faf Du Plessis and Suresh Raina, who became the first cricketer to play 100 matches for one franchisee, have had a quiet tournament till now and will hope to be amongst runs.
With 117 runs in four matches including a half-century, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is likely to contribute fruitfully to the CSK total.
All-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who performed the rescue act along with skipper Dhoni to give CSK bowlers a decent total to bowl at after they were struggling at 65 for four at one stage against Rajasthan Royals, will be the key player.
The bowling, led by Ashish Nehra, has also looked potent with Ishwar Pandey, Mohit Sharma and Dwayne Bravo getting the necessary breakthroughs for the team.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Ashish Nehra, Baba Aparajith, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ishwar Pandey, Matt Henry, Mithun Manhas, Mohit Sharma, Pawan Negi, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Samuel Badree, Suresh Raina, Ronit More, Michael Hussey, Rahul Sharma, Kyle Abbott, Ankush Bains, Irfan Pathan, Pratyush Singh, Andrew Tye and Eklavya Dwivedi.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (capt), AB de Villers, Chris Gayle, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Subramaniam Badrinath, Darren Sammy, Mitchell Starc, Nic Maddinson, Varun Aaron, Yuzvendra Singh Chahal, Rilee Rossouw, Vijay Zol, Yogesh Takawale, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Harshal Patel, Ashok Dinda, Sandeep Warrier, Manvinder Bisla, Iqbal Abdullah, Sean Abbott, Adam Milne, David Wiese, Jalaj Saxena, Sarfaraz Naushad Khan and Shishir Bhavane.
Match starts at 8:00 pm IST.