There’s one similarity between these two sides – that they are making their return in IPL 2018, after two years of suspension. Apart from that, everything is different. Rajasthan Royals are low down on the points table at #6 and at a do-or-die situation in every match, while Chennai Super Kings are sitting pretty at #2 on the points table, just one win away from qualification.
RR was the hyped team coming into this season of the Indian Premier League as the top 2 most expensive players at the IPL 2018 auction were purchased by the, but they’ve both failed. On the other hand, CSK had gone in for a ageing squad but they’ve all been superb thus far. Dhoni has rolled back the years with his hitting, Watson has given the team great starts and also has a century this year, and Ambati Rayudu has scored the most he ever has in an IPL season before.
Chennai are full of confidence coming into this game, with a very strong batting line up. Faf du Plessis is the only one who hasn’t been brilliant but that’s only because he hasn’t had too many games. Rayudu, Watson, Dhoni & Raina are all match winners and in case they all fail, they have the match winner Dwayne Bravo as well, who hasn’t even had to do much with the bat this season. Getting past this line up is going to be very difficult for the RR bowlers, especially since none apart from Jofra Archer have looked dangerous so far in IPL 2018.
Now Rajasthan will remember that century from Watson’s bat the last time these two played each other in IPL 2018, and they will want to set a place in place for the Aussie. Anureet Singh has been playing in place of Dhawal Kulkarni but the latter has way more experience and I’d like to see him being brought back into the team. The par score in three games at Jaipur so far has been 155-160 and RR would fancy their chances if they bowl first and restrict CSK to such a score.
Stokes has misfired this season and even though there’s hope each game, he hasn’t found a way to contribute. Now, with his team in a do-or-die situation, is the best time for the all-rounder to make a contribution. However, his countryman Jos Buttler, has come to the party after a bad start to the season, with three consecutive fifties after being promoted to the top of the order. If I was Dhoni, I’d be tempted to start with the spinners against Jinx and Buttler at the top.
Chennai and Rajasthan have played each other 19 times in the Indian Premier League over the years and Chennai lead the head-to-head count, 12-7. I’m expecting CSK to bat first, put up a score 15-20 above par and win the game. Rajasthan have the talent but they’ve lacked conviction this season.
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