Do or die!

As Royal Challengers Bengaluru face their biggest rival Chennai Super Kings at the Chinnaswamy Stadium today, fans are an anxious lot for a dealbreaker of a match.
MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli
MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli

BENGALURU: There’s been an unusual sort of buzz in Bengaluru during the week. The run-up to the match between Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), which will see lakhs of spectators making their way to the stadium, has seen a frenzy of a different kind. A scramble for tickets which were sold out within minutes, fans clutching onto the gates of the stadium and a wave of anxiety and excitement has gripped Bengalureans and Chennaites, alike.

Today’s big-ticket match is a deal-breaker for RCB since they have to win it by at least 18 runs if they score a minimum of 200 runs, batting first to make it to the top 4. CSK, meanwhile, will qualify for the IPL 2024 playoffs if they win the match.

Red Wave

Before the clash of the titans, it’s the clash of fans. Die-hard fans of both teams have enough reasons to justify why their favourite team is going to win. While the ‘home-ground’ reason is a big advantage, Allen Abhishek,co-founder of the fan page RCB Fan Army, says there are ‘patterns’ that make the fan base confident about RCB’s win. “During the Women’s Premier League match, the girls didn’t have a very strong beginning and lost to Delhi Capitals by one run, same with the men’s team... they too didn’t have a very good start but after losing to Kolkata Knight Riders by one run, they have not lost any match,” says Abhishek, humorously adding that RCB should defeat CSK to avenge the ‘age-old Cauvery dispute’.

Another RCB fan Rajeev Karnam adds that RCB is always criticised for its bowling line-up but this time that seems pretty strong too. “RCB knows that this win will make up for all the years of breaking the hearts of fans. Bengaluru had been parched for over 17 weeks, and RCB fans have been parched for 17 years. It’s a race between the two and we sure hope RCB wins,” says Karnam, adding, “RCB will win because Dhoni likes the number 7, and he would want to keep CSK at 7 wins and 7 losses.”

Hues of Yellow

If RCB fans are confident about the many advantages that the home team has, CSK fans are overconfident of their favourite team clinching the win. Pranav J, a software engineer, and die-hard CSK fan sarcastically mentions that for RCB, it could be a special match, but for CSK, it is like any other match they play. “I am a huge Dhoni fan. Last year he announced that he is going to play one more year for fans, leaving us wondering whether this will be his last IPL tournament,” says Pranav.

Sound engineer Avinash Naidu agrees. “In Dhoni we trust. If he is there, there is no doubt we will win. Moreover, it’s tradition for CSK to be in the playoffs. So they would have already strategised the whole thing,” says Naidu. He further adds teasingly, “If not anything, we have full confidence in RCB’s choking habit. You can pick any crucial match in the past...even if CSK does not perform well, RCB will make sure we win!”

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The New Indian Express