It’s Faf du Plessis versus Chennai Super Kings part two. But there will be much more at stake on Wednesday night at the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s stadium than a veteran who was a permanent in the yellows before the big reshuffle facing the yellow brigade.
A look at the points table - with Super Kings having only six points from nine games and Royal Challengers Bangalore 10 in 10 - does not make it a must-win game for either team. But practically, for a variety of reasons, either team will be desperate to add two points in its kitty.
Super Kings, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s return to captaincy, appeared to be a settled unit for the first time this season during its win over Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Sunday.
It will be keen to not drop the guard down in its second consecutive southern Indian Derby. After all, another defeat can virtually end its hopes of defending the title.
Royal Challengers, on the other hand, will be eager to return to winning ways. Having won five of its seven games, importing du Plessis as captain seemed to be working to precision. Since then, it has been a downhill run, with the team being winless in two weeks.
The lack of runs by the top order has been RCB’s primary concern. It will be hoping for Virat Kohli, who returned to scoring runs with a slow fifty against table-toppers Gujarat Titans over the weekend, to switch gears and Glenn Maxwell to accelerate in order to stay relevant in the race for the Playoffs.
While Royal Challengers are unlikely to change their combination, it will be interesting to see if Moeen Ali and Dwayne Bravo have recovered from their niggles. If either of them is available for selection, he will be in contention for a spot in the XI at the cost of Mitchell Santner.