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Royal Challengers Bangalore seems be one of the very few teams well aware of their own backyard like the back of their palms! While most teams have tasted defeat at home in the Pepsi IPL 2013, RCB have won all five home games so far to be sitting pretty at the top of the points table with 10 points and with a healthy net run rate to boot too.
On the eve of their sixth match against the young Pune Warriors India, a team that has blown hot and cold, mostly losing their way in some close contests, RCB’s Sri Lankan batsman Tillakeratne Dilshan affirmed that the Southern Reds, apart from knowing how to adjust and adapt to the changes that take place at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, were also playing the breed of cricket required for this format.
Talking to the media, he said, “Yes, we definitely know the conditions much better than other teams. We have played a lot of games and we know how to adjust batting on this wicket. We are also playing good cricket in all departments. That’s why we are winning.”
It is a known factor that when Gayle walks in, all else in the team are pushed into the background and it is not any different for Dilashan, who has done his share for RCB in the past.
But Dishan reiterates, “I am not going to change my role. If the ball comes in my areas, I am going to smash it. After all, it all depends on how Gayle is going about his game. If Gayle is going after the bowling, I would like to give him more strike and vice-versa.
Underlining the strength of the team and the need to get as many wins as early as possible with the belief of maintaining winning combos, to a great extent, the ‘Dilscoop’ inventor said, “After the first two games, I got injured and had to rest for 10 days. We tried another opener, but I had to come back into the side. The middle order is just strong and Saurab Tiwary, another left-hander, has come back strengthening it further.
Otherwise, we have one left-hander at the top (Chris Gayle). So, I doubt there will be any changes for the Tuesday contest.
“I came here with lot of confidence, scoring lot of runs in the ODI’s against Bangladesh. But unfortunately, I could not score runs in first two matches of this season. In the last match against RR, I scored 25 and I am keen to get more runs. But I am disappointed after I got out for 25. I am looking forward to get one big score in the coming matches”, he said of his own form.
RCB will hit the road following Tuesday’s contest and Dilshan said the team was focused whether playing at home or away.
“Our first aim is to win the match tomorrow. To get to 12 points and finish at the top of the table before we embark on away matches. We are playing away from home for the next 15 -20 days and we need to adjust to their conditions as soon as possible. That is the main task at our hands. We have lot of experience players and I think they can adjust quickly to those conditions and if we play good cricket, we can beat any side in any condition.
He also confirmed that young Mayank Agarwal was sidelined with a fractured finger.
Match 30 of the Pepsi IPL 2013 features the Chennai Super Kings taking on Rajasthan Royals. Both teams have won four of their six matches so far this season. CSK’s win over KKR took them one place above RR in the standings. RR were second prior to their previous match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Bengaluru. But the 7-wicket defeat in that match resulted in a slip to fourth place in the standings.
RR need to be cautious and mindful of history, for their current situation mirrors their performance last season. The team had won four of its first six matches last season too, but managed only a further three wins in the remaining ten matches in the season.
CSK meanwhile will realise that they have been defeated at home twice this season and cannot afford any more losses. Dhoni’s lads have made up for the setbacks at home by winning all their three away fixtures. But considering they are among the favourites to go the distance, CSK need to start performing consistently, start getting ruthless and not give opponents a chance to score points in Chennai.
Monday, April 22, 2013, 8 p.m
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
“Mr. Cricket” Michael Hussey is one of the three most important batsmen in the CSK ranks. In his role as opener, Hussey has more often than not helped his team off to sound starts and that has meant the likes of Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni have a platform to launch from.
The Rajasthan Royals have more often than not done well when Ajinkya Rahane or Rahul Dravid have dropped anchor. Despite not being known for playing the unorthodox strokes that is so common in this format of the game, Rahane and Dravid have scored runs at more than a run-a-ball and ensured the scoreboard is always ticking. The elevation of Stuart Binny in the batting order seems to be working well for the Royals; the Karnataka all-rounder has played cameos in a couple of matches this season and the team will hope he will add consistency to his game.
The Chennai Super Kings have dominated their contests against the Rajasthan Royals.
RR won their first three matches against CSK, including the final of the inaugural IPL season but since then CSK have dominated winning 7 of the 8 matches. CSK are undefeated in their last five matches against RR starting with their home fixture in the 2010 season.
13 runs separate KKR’s Gautam Gambhir and CSK’s Suresh Raina in the list of the top run-getters in the IPL; Raina has scored 2339 runs while Gambhir has 2326 runs.
Rajasthan Royals’ Brad Hodge is the only player to score more than 500 boundary fours in Twenty20 cricket; he has hit 562 fours in this format.
The Chennai Super Kings remain at home to play the second of their three back-to-back home games. Their next fixture is against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 25. The Rajasthan Royals will enjoy a brief break before they host Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 27.