It’s getting tight for Rajasthan Royals. They are seventh on the table with just two points out of five games. But they should take confidence from the fact that they ran Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings really close in their losses.
Jos Buttler is a massive figure at the top of the other which also has Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith – two batsmen not made of a similar attack-minded fabric. Beyond the trio, the batting is really dependent on Ben Stokes’s power-hitting down the order, in addition to the Indian talent like Rahul Tripathi and Krishnappa Gowtham, who can tonk the ball around on their day.
Sanju Samson began the season with a tremendous hundred against Sunrisers, but his absence since the CSK game in Chepauk has affected the team as the batting loses a bit of bite. Shreyas Gopal has been the most impressive among the bowlers with his wrist spin, while the Jofra Archer factor has been a bit of hit-and-miss so far. Stokes, the bowler also needs to put his hand up.
Meanwhile, CSK are on a roll, winning five out of their six games. Chepauk has been an impregnable fortress so far, where they’ve won four in four – the sort of success rate that is likely to make them playoffs contenders again. Despite being nearly unbeatable at home, there is an expectation that can’t replicate that away – more so with Dwayne Bravo’s absence through injury. However, the side is still has balance in terms of resources.
Faf du Plessis has come in and continued his good international form at the top of the order. The team would want Ambati Rayudu to lift his game to provide a lot more stability in the middle-order and ease the pressure on MS Dhoni.
CSK’s bowling has been spin heavy and it could continue to be the same way as the pitch in Jaipur has assisted turn, although it has been more batsman-friendly than Chepauk.
When: Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings, Indian Premier League, Match 25, April 11
Where: Sawai Mansingh Stadium,Jaipur, 20:00 IST
What to expect: The 22 yards so far has aided the spinners and cutters, and the surface is expected to play similar.
Krishnappa Gowtham has not been effective for the Royals this season, accounting for just one wicket in five games. It will be interesting to see if Mahipal Lomror gets a look in. Sudhesan Midhun was picked last game and he could be given a run despite conceding 27 runs in two overs, unless the pitch warrants an extra pacer. Jaydev Unadkat has missed out since he leaked 54 runs against CSK and he is unlikely to return against the same opponents.
Probable XI: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Steven Smith, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Prashant Chopra, Krishnappa Gowtham/Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Sudhesan Midhun, Dhawal Kulkarni
Chennai Super Kings
The holders are likely to change their winning combination.
Probable XI: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Scott Kuggeleijn, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir