The in-form Super Kings take on the up-and-down Royal Challengers in Ranchi on Sunday in a fixture of far more importance to the latter, who cannot afford many more slip-ups between now and when they play Chennai again in their final match in Bangalore next weekend.
However, getting the better of the 2010 and 2011 Indian Premier League (IPL) champions is going to be no easy task for the visitors, though.
What: Chennai vs. Bangalore
Where: JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi
When: Sunday, May. 18, 11.30 a.m. BST/ 4 p.m. local time
Live Stream/TV info: ITV 4, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. BST
Chennai: MS Dhoni*†, B Aparajith, R Ashwin, S Badree, F du Plessis, JW Hastings, MJ Henry, BW Hilfenhaus, DJ Hussey, RA Jadeja, BB McCullum, M Manhas, RG More, P Negi, A Nehra, IC Pandey, SK Raina, V Shankar, MM Sharma, DR Smith
Bangalore: V Kohli*, VR Aaron, AN Ahmed, YS Chahal, AB de Villiers, AB Dinda, CH Gayle, SB Jakati, T Mishra, JA Morkel, M Muralitharan, HV Patel, PA Patel, R Rampaul, S Rana, RR Rossouw, S Sandeep Warrier, MA Starc, YV Takawale, Yuvraj Singh, VH Zol
Chennai: MS Dhoni and Co. have so far been in sparkling form in this season’s IPL, barring, of course, their two losses to Kings XI Punjab that is.
The runners-up in each of the previous two editions of the competition actually lost their opening encounter to George Bailey’s men by six wickets in Abu Dhabi on April 18, only to then respond to that setback by going on to win their next six games in a row.
I see Chennai Super Kings, my top pick for the IPL are sitting pretty at the top of the table #unibet— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) May 14, 2014
But a second reverse to Punjab last week now leaves the two rivals neck and neck at the top of the standings having both won eight of their 10 fixtures to date.
Bangalore: It has been a case of one step forward and two steps back as far as the Royal Challengers are concerned in this year’s competition, and they need a strong finish to make it into the latter stages.
Virat Kohli’s outfit actually kicked off their campaign in convincing style by recording back-to-back victories against both the Delhi Daredevils and then the champion franchise from last year, the Mumbai Indians.
Sourav Ganguly Advises Royal Challengers Bangalore Skipper Virat Kohli to Focus on Batting: Under Virat Kohli'... http://t.co/5I2bYdL2SB— Kashi khan (@bst_cricket) May 16, 2014
However, while at the time those wins appeared impressive, in hindsight they are looking less so now, while Bangalore have since gone on to lose six contests of their next eight matches to leave them now in danger of being eliminated from the tournament before the knockout phase gets underway.
Chennai, Dwayne Smith: The big-hitting opener has been in typically belligerent mood with the bat so far in his 10 innings for the Super Kings, with the 31-year-old having smashed his way to a hugely impressive 440 runs from a mere 319 balls faced at an eye-catching strike-rate of 137.93.
And with five scores of 50 or more to his name in the competition, as well as an incredible 36 fours and 29 sixes, Smith has even outshone his more illustrious opening partner Brendon McCullum in terms of impact, and that’s before we even mention the four wickets he has also captured.
Bangalore, AB de Villiers: Truth be told, the South Africa one-day international skipper has been one of the few Royal Challengers players to have actually stood up and been counted in this season’s IPL, and one can only wonder just what position his franchise would be in right now were it not for the middle-order batsman’s key contributions.
De Villiers, 30, has scored more runs, 315, at a better strike-rate (158.29) than any of his team-mates, including three half-centuries, while the right-handed Proteas star has also recorded Bangalore’s highest score so far of 89 not out.
And so if the franchise are to finish in the top four places, then you feel AB will need to maintain his dominating form with bat in hand between now and their final match on Saturday.
Who will win Sunday's IPL contest between Chennai and Bangalore?
Weather: We are expecting a low of 22 degrees Celsius and a high of 40 degrees Celsius, with no chance of rain, for this particular IPL clash in Ranchi.
Pitch: Chennai have won both of the previous two matches played at the JSCA International Stadium Complex so far, against the Kolkata Knight Riders and then the Rajasthan Royals.
And each time the team that won the toss opted to bat first, with a score around the 150 mark proving tricky for the side chasing, especially against an increasingly turning ball in the second innings.