Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will renew their intense rivalry after two years when they face-off in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at Bengaluru on Wednesday.
With CSK not playing in the previous two seasons, fans on either side were robbed of IPL's most celebrated rivalry.
Though Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK lead RCB 13-7 in the overall head-to-head record, both teams have won three games each out of the seven played at the high-scoring Chinnaswamy Stadium with one producing a no-result.
Dhoni's men have been much better than RCB in their comeback season, winning four out of the five games they have played so far. The Virat Kohli-captained RCB have won two out of their five matches and would be eager to maintain momentum after the win against Delhi Daredevils at home last week.
Good news for the hosts is that AB de Villiers is in devastating form, which he exhibited in the last match when he enthralled his fans with a whirlwind unbeaten 39-ball 90 to power his team to a convincing win over Daredevils.
He produced a vintage innings and single-handedly chased down the 175-run target with two overs to spare to bring RCB's campaign back on track.
Kohli's quickfire 57 and unbeaten 92 against Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians respectively also has boosted RCB's confidence.
The pair of Kohli and de Villiers has scored 2,361 runs in the IPL, next only to Chris Gayle-Kohli who have amassed 2,787 runs. Shikhar Dhawan-David Warner combine are placed third with 2,357 runs.
Quinton de Kock, who has scored 112 runs so far, would like to get a big knock under his belt, as would Manan Vohra, who scored just one in the last match.
For CSK, Watson has been in great nick as he smashed 106 runs off 57 balls against Royals, and is among the top run-getters and wicket-takers for his team.
Also, Ambati Rayudu would like to continue with his good performance as he has been the highest individual run-getter (201) for his side in five matches, with 79 being the best knock.
Suresh Raina (118 runs so far), who is an important member in CSK's batting line-up, will be expected to score big runs again. Also keen to perform will be Dhoni (139) and Dwayne Bravo (104).
Against a power-packed CSK batting, RCB must tighten-up their bowling, having conceded 200 plus runs twice at home.
The spin duo of Yuzuvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar, who have taken five and four wickets each, respectively, would be itching to put up a better show on Wednesday, given the well-documented fact that CSK are struggling against spin this season. They have lost 10 wickets to them and only managed to score at 7.70 runs per over.
RCB all-rounder Chris Woakes has been outstanding so far, picking up eight wickets. Umesh Yadav also been equally good with eight wickets in his kitty.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Brendon McCullum, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Kulwant Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Manan Vohra, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Corey Anderson, Parthiv Patel, Aniruddha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, K M Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan.