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Bangalore eye playoff berth with a win over Chennai

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Seven wins in 10 Indian T20 League games means Virat Kohli’s Bangalore now need a solitary win to all but seal their playoff berth. Bangalore have been truly ruthless this season, losing a mere three games so far, and their next game - against a lowly Chennai unit - is expected to be another cakewalk.

While Chennai have won 15 of their 25 games against Bangalore since the inception of the league, the current form duly gives Bangalore a clear upper hand. They have, in fact, lost just one of their five games, and were utterly merciless against Kolkata last time out. Chennai, on the other hand, have endured their worst season and although mathematically possible, they are theoretically out of the competition, having won just three of their 11 games this season; lowest by any side in this year’s competition.

Having said that, let’s have a look what the game has to offer:

Shardul Thakur’s form a real concern:

Chennai’s failure to churn out positive results has been a repercussion of collective blunder. They did start their 2020 Indian T20 League campaign on the front foot, beating the defending champions Mumbai in the first game of the competition, but have since failed to reproduce the same form. One of the many culprits of this dip in form has been Shardul Thakur. The 29-year-old picked seven wickets in his first four games but has managed to scalp just a couple in his last four. Both his bowling average and strike rate have taken a massive hit.

Matches

Overs

Wickets

Average

S/R

E/R

Shardul Thakur's First 4 Matches

16

7

19.86

13.71

8.69

Shardul Thakur's Last 4 Matches

12.2

2

54.5

37

8.93

However, he has something to look forward to because as history suggests, he loves bowling against Bangalore, having taken seven wickets against Virat Kohli’s men. Only against Punjab has he taken more wickets in the Indian T20 League (9). And well, the last time he squared off against them, he dismissed the likes of Devdutt Padikkal and AB de Villiers. 

Players to watch out for:

Bangalore - Virat Kohli

Unlike the yesteryears, Virat Kohli’s captaincy has been applauded by many this season. The Bangalore captain has scored 365 runs this season at an impressive average of the 60.83, and on Sunday, he will have a record in sight as he needs 63 runs to complete 900 runs against Chennai in the Indian T20 League. His record against Chennai bowlers, however, is something that he will want to improve upon, as he has been dismissed thrice both by Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja in his Indian T20 League career.

Bowler Innings Runs Balls Faced Dismissals Strike Rate
Ravindra Jadeja 14 109 103 3 105.82
Piyush Chawla 14 123 93 3 132.25
Shardul Thakur 5 54 32 1 168.75

Table: Virat Kohli vs Chennai bowlers in Indian T20 League

Chennai - Faf du Plessis

Despite a strong start, opener Faf du Plessis has struggled to get the momentum going in his recent outings, scoring 20+ runs in just one of his last six outings. Regardless of that though, he still sits fourth in the highest run-scorers’ tally, and like Kohli, has a few milestones to reach. For starters, he needs just three boundaries to complete 500 fours in T20s. A boundary on Sunday will see him reach the 200 mark in the Indian T20 League. Du Plessis’ form has taken a big hit, to say the least. In his first six games, the South African scored 299 runs at an average of 74.75, but in the last five matches, he has scored 77 runs at an average of 15.4. If Chennai are to assert their claim, they will need du Plessis to strike on Sunday.

Du Plessis

Runs

Avg

S/R

First 6 Matches

299

74.75

151.01

Last 5 Matches

77

15.4

104.05

Stats to watch out for:

1: Kohli is 1 six away from scoring 200 maximums in Indian T20 League.

2: Rayudu is 2 4s away from scoring 300 4s in Indian T20 League.

2: Wickets Saini needs to reach 50 T20 wickets.

42: Runs Finch needs to reach 2000 runs in Indian T20 League.

58: Runs De Villiers needs to reach 9000 runs in T20s.

Writer’s pick:

The two teams have already met once this season and it was Bangalore who came out on top, riding on the back of their captain Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 90 off 52 deliveries. Given Chennai’s recent struggles, it is hard to see them winning this game. You can punt on Bangalore’s victory on Sunday with a fairly high degree of confidence.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manjunath Kiran

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