The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 is almost here and cricket fans in the country couldn’t have asked for a better opener as holders Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are set to face Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on March 23 in Chennai.
MS Dhoni-led CSK will be bidding to mark their homecoming with a dominant performance. Notably, the defending champions had played only one game at home in IPL 2018, which also marked their return from two-year suspension over corruption-related activities.
On the other hand, Virat Kohli is under a bit of pressure as RCB haven’t managed to end their title drought despite having had superstars and the India captain at their helm. Questions are being asked about Kohli’s captaincy in the IPL in the lead up to IPL 2019.
Kohli had conceded that RCB had mistakes in the past which had led to their downfall in the cash-rich league. Nonetheless, the skipper of the Bengaluru-based franchise has made it clear that his team will strive to give their best every time they step on the field this season despite focus on workload management in the lead up to the World Cup, starting May 30 in England and Wales.
Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 21, 2019
RCB had begun their preparatory camp in Bengaluru earlier this week and they travelled to Chennai for the season opener as early as Thursday. Shortly after the touchdown in Chennai, captain Kohli and his teammates hit the nets at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
The skipper reportedly had an intense session at the nets and he was joined by the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and new-signing Shivam Dube.
RCB’s woeful recent record against Dhoni’s CSK
RCB are seemingly well aware of the task in hand. While the focus is on starting the season with a win, history doesn’t favour Virat Kohli’s men.
In 22 meetings between CSK and RCB, the Bengaluru team have managed to win only seven while the Super Kings have managed 14 wins. More importantly, RCB are heading into IPL 2019 with a six-match losing streak against the CSK. Kohli’s men last beat CSK in 2014.
RCB’s records at the MA Chidambaram Stadium is also a worrying sign for Bengaluru fans. Their last win at Chepauk came in 2008 and six of their previous encounters at the iconic venue have resulted in defeats.
Notably, Dhoni’s CSK completed a double over RCB en route to glory in IPL 2018. Kohli had cut a frustrating figure in front of the Bengaluru crowd last year as Chennai had chased down a 206-run target with five wickets to spare after Dhoni pulled off a chasing masterclass at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
CSK fans, who are likely to paint Chepauk yellow on Saturday, will be hoping for another memorable knock from their captain, Dhoni who enjoys batting against Kohli’s men.