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IPL 2024: Bengaluru look up to ‘Lucky 18’ to beat Chennai

RCB have never lost an IPL match played on May 18 and of the four games they won on the date, two have been against CSK.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s Virat Kohli plays a shot as Chennai Super Kings’ MS Dhoni watches during an Indian Premier League match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on March 22, 2024. (Photo by R.SATISH BABU/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

SATURDAY, May 18, will see one of the biggest games of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 before the playoffs begin as defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) in what will be a virtual knock-out clash.

However, while a win for CSK will take them to the playoffs straight as the fourth qualifying team, a win for RCB needs to be more clinical since they are trailing their opponents by two points and in terms of net run-rate (+0.38 against 0.52).

Faf du Plessis’s side, which has won five games in a row after losing six consecutive ones to register one of the biggest comebacks into the tournament, will need to beat Ruturaj Gaikwad’s team by at least 18 runs if batting first and with 11 balls to spare if chasing.

If the match is washed out, which is also a possibility since the host city of Bengaluru is experiencing showers of rain of late, CSK will advance to the top four.

Read: Mumbai finish last in IPL 2024 as Lucknow beat them by 18 runs

Bengaluru supporters will, however, the No.18.

Yes, there are a lot of connections with No.18 in this game. While it is taking place on May 18 and RCB will have to win either by 18 runs or in 18.1 overs, their star batter Virat Kohli, who wears jersey No.18, is in prolific form in this season with more than 660 runs in 13 matches.

The Bengaluru fans will also be excited over the fact that their favourite team has never lost a T20 match on May 18. They have won four matches played on the same date, two of which were against the CSK. And in three of those four victories, Kohli has played a big role.

Read: Arithmetic at play to decide 4th IPL playoff team

The four IPL matches that RCB won on May 18 were — by 24 runs against CSK in 2013; by 5 wickets against CSK in 2014; by 82 runs in Duckworth-Lewis against Punjab Kings (formerly Kings XI Punjab) in 2016; and by 8 wickets against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2023.

Kohli scored 56 not out, 27, 113 and 100 in these games, respectively.

However, Chennai supporters will also be bolstered by some history. The yellow brigade has an upper edge over Bengaluru with 21 wins in 32 matches, which gives them a winning percentage of more than 65 per cent. While CSK have a far superior record (8-1) in their home ground Chennai, where they beat RCB in the opening game of this year’s IPL on March 22, they also lead their opponents by one game (5-4) at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

Numerology, history and current form indicate at a tooth-and-nail contest on Saturday evening.

The match begins at 7.30 pm IST (2 pm GMT).

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