At stake for CSK is a top-two finish on the leaderboard, but they will have to turn it around after losing their last three matches. (BCCI)
Their playoff hopes over after defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders, a shattered Royal Challengers Bangalore will play for pride against a slightly shaky Chennai Super Kings in their last league encounter of the seventh edition of Indian Premier League on Saturday.
The 30-run defeat against KKR, who booked the IPL playoff berth, dashed RCB's hopes. Skipper Virat Kohli, who could do no wrong in the last IPL, is struggling for runs and his captaincy has also raised a few eyebrows. However, the RCB skipper would be eying a consolation win to bid a graceful adieu to the tournament.
The formidable CSK have already qualified for the playoffs, but inconsistency has hit the two-time champions who have lost their last three matches. They would certainly like to bounce back hope to finish in the top-two at the end of league stage on Sunday. Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men would also be gunning for revenge against the RCB, who pulled off a five-wicket win in a thrilling match on May 18.
For RCB, the batting lineup, which looked strong on paper before the tournament, has let them down on more than one occasion. The poor form of explosive opener Chris Gayle and failing to have a regular openers have hurt them in the tournament. They are heavily dependent on AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh at the moment. Though De Villiers has been outstanding, Yuvraj on the other hand has been bit inconsistent. The see-saw opening arrangements of Parthiv Patel and Yogesh Takawale has not clicked when facing good bowling attacks.
Bowling too has been a disappointment for the home side. Except Yezuvendra Chahal and Mitchell Starc, most have struggled and have given runs consistently.
In Chenai's case, assured of a berth in the playoffs, Dhoni's yellow brigade would be aiming to quickly get over the shock losses in the last three matches.
Opener Dwayne Smith, who has contributed well to CSK's campaign so far, scored 47 against Hyderabad and would be aiming to continue that form to enter the playoffs with confidence. Faf du Plessis, however, remains a slight concern as he is yet to come up with a noteworthy knock for his side. Dhoni has his first fifty of the season under the belt but has gone about his job without making any big statements with his bat.
On the bowling front, pacer Mohit Sharma has been the bowling star for Chennai this season, having taken 18 wickets at an impressive average of 15.22. R Ashwin and Jadeja fill up the spin department and the duo will be hoping to find some form ahead of the knockout stage.