Hello and a warm welcome to yet another blog on the daily match reviews of this year’s IPL. Today (12/05/24) was a very important double-header Sunday as CSK hosted RR in their first and only day game at home and RCB hosted DC. So let’s get started!

Chennai Super Kings VS Rajasthan Royals | Chepauk, Chennai
Sanju Samson won the toss and opted to bat first on the slowest track in Chepauk. The RR openers were off to a watchful start and when the two openers tried to increase the scoring rate, in came Simarjeet, who yet again impressed by taking the RR middle-order. RR struggled to get momentum, but a superb 47 by Parag gave them 141, about 20 runs below par. Rachin and Mitchell came in with intent while Ruturaj played his favourite role, anchoring the innings. RR did claw their way back but some important cameos from Dube and Rizvi comfortably got CSK home by 5 wickets and almost put a foot in the top-4.

In a dominant CSK performance, it was a very good contest between bat and ball and RR fought pretty well till the end but the difference between the two teams was their approach in the powerplay. RR started slow but couldn’t increase the run rate because the track was very slow in the middle overs and the same thing happened with CSK as well, but Rachin kept picking the boundaries nicely and Mitchell followed him as CSK got a huge headstart and had almost killed the game by the powerplay. Another defining over in the second innings was Dube hitting Ashwin for 15 runs in an over in a situation where the asking rate was about to touch 7.5 and things were becoming tricky for CSK. Although Ashwin did get Dube in his last ball, Dube had sealed the game by backing his natural game and those 15 runs were pure gold for CSK, which in turn reduced the pressure off Ruturaj, who with Rizvi calmly sealed an important win for CSK and with this, they move to 3rd. So overall it was a rare day for the bowlers as the batters were struggling but the intent shown by CSK, unlike their counterparts, took them to another classic and successful chase at Chepauk for CSK.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru VS Delhi Capitals | M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Stand-in captain Axar Patel won the toss and opted to field first in a do-or-die clash. Faf again fell early and Kohli played some amazing shots before he was gone but then the spin-blaster, Patidar along with Jacks were taking RCB towards 200+, aided by some drop catches by DC, but they clawed back very well in the end and a good knock from Green ensured RCB at least did get a 180+ total. DC should have chased but RCB threw in some punches by reducing DC to 30/4 by the 5th over, including the dismissal of the dangerous Fraser-McGurk, which was an unfortunate dismissal and from there on Axar waged a lone battle with the help of Hope and Rasikh but the RCB bowlers were just too good and gave us a massive victory by 48 runs, improving our NRR considerably and still we have a realistic chance to qualify for the playoffs.

In RCB’s 5th consecutive win, similar to the difference between the two teams in the game between PBKS and RCB, the fielding proved to be a decisive factor for RCB once again. DC regularly dropped catches and there was some lazy fielding. But RCB were spirited as Karn took a blinder, and Green got a wonderful run-out of the dangerous Stubbs. Another difference was the powerplay performance. The pitch had some swing and bounce on offer and RCB lost just 2 wickets, unlike their counterparts who lost 4 big wickets. The third difference I would add is the absence of Pant in this crucial fixture for DC and credit to our boys to maximise this advantage as they triggered a top-order collapse, which DC couldn’t afford as there was no Pant and the young Kushagra was no match to an in-form Siraj. RCB would be so proud that their bowling attack is winning them games as all of them are chipping in equal and vital contributions. DC are practically out of the playoff race but Axar Patel was incredible with the bat and kept the game alive till the 16th over but he had no support from the other end and the scoreboard pressure and an injury proved to be too much to the impressive DC skipper. So before the game, CSK would say they were practically qualified for the playoffs if LSG lose one of their games but this fighting performance from RCB has kept their NRR in some check as it is no joke to bowl out batting sides, with the impact-sub rule in 3 consecutive games. So SRH, CSK, LSG and RCB have a practical chance to fill in the end 2 other spots in the playoffs (RR have practically qualified) and the blockbuster clash between RCB and CSK, a game which will mostly decide the fate of the last spot in the playoffs.

So that’s for today. Another week of entertainment awaits as tomorrow GT hosts KKR, a game which will not impact the playoff race in my opinion as it is impossible for GT to win the game by about 200 runs, to stay in contention but it is an important one for KKR, as they can officially be in the top-2 if they win tomorrow. So stay tuned for that!