IPL 2024: RCB up against CSK & rain threat

RCB are on a five-game winning streak. File photo: PTI/Shailendra Bhojak

Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bengaluru's (RCB) fairytale resurgent run will be up against the might of five-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the weather gods when the two sides clash in a do-or-die encounter to decide the fourth and final team for the IPL play-offs, here on Saturday.

Thursday's washout in Hyderabad meant that Sunrisers Hyderabad joined Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals as the three confirmed teams for the playoffs and the race is now for only one spot.

Boasting of a better net run-rate and more points, defending champions CSK (13 points, NRR 0.528) start favourites at a venue where they have lost to the home side only once in eight matches. RCB have 12 points and a net run-rate of 0.387.

However, what has heightened the drama surrounding the game is the forecast of rain. A washout will take CSK through to the playoffs, while RCB will need to win by at least 18 runs or chase the target with about 11 balls to spare.

The odds are therefore stacked against the home side, which is the in-form unit in the tournament's final stretch.

RCB have staged a spectacular comeback, securing five straight wins after enduring a six-match losing streak.

Orange Cap holder Kohli (661 runs) has been in fine form with three fifties in last five innings as he is poised to ignite the field with yet another stellar show.

They will hope that skipper Faf du Plessis is back among the runs, having capped single digit scores in his last two outings.

In the middle order, Rajat Patidar and Cameron Green have both showcased compelling form.

Mahipal Lomror and Dinesh Karthik would be looking to make the most of the Chinnaswamy track, which is typically a good batting wicket.

As for RCB's bowling, Yash Dayal has been their star, bagging the most wickets (13) this season. Lockie Ferguson, Mohammed Siraj, Green, and Swapnil Singh face a formidable task ahead.

Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad has led CSK from the front. File photo: PTI/R Senthil Kumar

For CSK, Ruturaj Gaikwad has been the team's top run-scorer this season and is expected to give them a fine start.

Fellow opener Rachin Ravindra has regained from and he along with Daryl Mitchell will be expected to prop up the top order.

They will hope that Shivam Dube gets back into his rhythm. The southpaw as failed to impress in his last four outings.

In bowling, pacer Simarjeet Singh and Tushar Deshpande have done really well after they missed their premier trio of Mustafizur Rahman, Matheesha Pathirana and Deepak Chahar.

The inspiring presence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni will continue to be a factor for the side but it remains to be seen how big a role he is able to play given some nagging injury concerns.

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