Amit Kumar

Mumbai:
Both, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will strive to clinch the final berth in one go when they will face-off at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Monday.
 
The first of the two play-offs called Qualifier-1 and Qualifier-2, a new format introduced by IPL from this fourth season. The winner of the Qualifier-1(CSK or RCB) will sweep directly in the final of the IPL 2011 on May 27.
 
The team that gets defeated in Qualifier-1 would get another chance to try their luck with the winners of the Eliminator Round (MI and KKR), to be held on May 25. The team which is defeated in the Eliminator round would be automatically knocked out of the tournament.
 
This high-octane clash will be on its peak at the Wankhede Stadium, as both the teams CSK and RCB will try to finish on a good note.
 
Table topper RCB has played 14 matches with 19 points in their kitty, while CSK are on the second spot with 18 points out of 14 games.

It's a contest between two most consistent sides in the IPL-4.

While RCB have depended almost completely on the breathtaking exploits of Chris Gayle (511 runs in 9 matches at an average of 85.16), Chennai on the other hand have booked their spot on the back of solid team work.

The devastating Mike Hussey has been their most consistent batsmen (429 runs in 12 games at an average of 42.90), but they have also been bailed out by different players at various times.

S Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay, Albie Morkel, S Anirudha, Wriddhiman Saha and MS Dhoni himself. All of them have essayed vital roles whenever things have got tough.

With the ball R Ashwin (16 wickets in 14 games at an average of 21.18, ER 6.16), Doug Bollinger (15 wickets in 11 games at an average of 18.73, ER 7.02) and CSK spearhead Morkel (15 wickets in 13 matches) have helped Dhoni script the impossible of heists and defend even modest totals.

These figures though mean nothing if Gayle decides to do what he did to CSK on Sunday evening in Bangalore. The Wankhede track will be more bowling friendly than the truer surface of Chinnaswamy.

It will offer more bounce to the quicks and more purchase to the array of spinners that CSK possess.

Dhoni, though less instinctive these days, than when he started his captaincy career, needs to do something different and surprise the opposition with his tactics.

What can one expect the Great Gambler to do to silence Gayle? How about putting aside the keeping gloves and rolling his arm over for an over or two at the Pirate from the Caribbean?

If it doesn't work, Gayle will do to Dhoni what he has done to other accomplished bowlers. Smash him. But if the move clicks, the West Indian would be taking his quintessentially slow walk to the dug out, while Chennai would take giant strides into the final.

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Teams (from):

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (Captain), S Anirudha, R Ashwin, S Badrinath, GJ Bailey, DE Bollinger, DJ Bravo, F du Plessis, BW Hilfenhaus, MEK Hussey, SB Jakati, Joginder Sharma, S Randiv, KMDN Kulasekara, VY Mahesh, JA Morkel, A Mukund, SK Raina, WP Saha, TG Southee, SB Styris, S Tyagi, K Vasudevadas, G Vignesh, M Vijay

Royal Challengers Bangalore: DL Vettori (Captain), MA Agarwal, S Aravind, KB Arun Karthik, BN Bharath, RR Bhatkal, AB de Villiers, TM Dilshan, ANPR Fernando, CM Gautam, M Kaif, AA Kazi, Z Khan, V Kohli, CK Langeveldt, A Mithun, DP Nannes, R Ninan, AUK Pathan, LA Pomersbach, CA Pujara, RR Rossouw, SS Tiwary, JJ van der Wath, JD Vandiar

(JPN)