Match 17 of the VIVO Indian premier league 2018 will see the two franchises, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, that returned to the IPL after serving 2-year bans; go up against each other. Both the former champions will look to regain their lost momentum in the ongoing edition. With two wins and two defeats, Rajasthan Royals are fifth with four points, while Chennai has also gathered an equal number of points with two victories from three matches. They are placed fourth because of a better net run rate.
After the situation in the state worsened due to political protests over the Cauvery issue, all the IPL matches scheduled to be held in Chennai have been moved to Pune. The MCA stadium will now play hosts to the Men in Yellow as Dhoni and Co. used to the conditions that the new venue has on offer. The good thing is that the stadium has shown assistance to spinners in the past and the tweakers in the CSK side will be itching to bowl on the turner of a pitch.
Both teams enter the match after having lost their previous encounters. The hosts, Chennai faced a 4-run despite in a high-scoring thriller against the Kings XI Punjab despite heroics from an injured skipper Dhoni as he made his career high score of 79. On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals were outclassed by a clinical KKR as they lost by 7 wickets. On a rather slow Jaipur pitch, the RR battting order failed miserably and could only post 160 despite the openers setting up a solid foundation of 54.
For CSK, the major concern will be the injuries to stalwarts Mahendra Singh Dhoni who showed signs of struggling with a back problem in the last match, and Suresh Raina who missed his first ever game in the IPL for CSK after he suffered a calf strain against the KKR in Chennai. The bowling looks in safe hands with Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson all amongst the wickets. In the batting, however, a Raina-less side looked really weak and if not for rayudu and Dhoni, then the losing margin would’ve been much bigger.
Their opposition too is struggling with batting woes as overseas stars like Buttler, Short and Ben Stokes haven’t really light up the IPL as they did in the auction earlier this year. The batting depends heavily on south-paw Sanju Samson who is their leading run scorer in the tournament so far, having amassed 185 runs, which also includes his mighty knock of 92* against RCB. Skipper Rahane too has had starts in the powerplay but he would have realized that a 30+ score off 20 odd balls doesn’t make a difference. Jaydev Unadkat too has shown signs of the immense pressure that a hefty price-tag brings along having picked up just 2 wickets in four matches at an economy of 11. The spin-twins from Karnataka, Krishnappa Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal, however, have done a really good job so far having scalped 5 wickets but more importantly, at an economy of just 7.
Head-to-Head: CSK 11-7 RR
Conditions: No chances of rain but humidity prediction is 25%. It does get hotter in the evening with temperatures reaching 42′.
Chennai Super Kings: Ravindra Jadeja hasn’t quite performed up to the expectations of his coach and captain. Apart from a match-winning six against KKR, he hasn’t really scored with the bat in situations when the team needed him the most. Dhoni didn’t even give him the ball in the last match. In such a situation, it is likely that Karn Sharma might replace Jadeja in the XI. Also, if Suresh Raina is fit, then he’ll replace Murli Vijay in the side.
Probable XI: Shane Watson, Murali Vijay/Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c), Sam Billings, Karn Sharma, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur.
Rajasthan Royals: DÁrcy Short is running out of opportunities and has not given a match-winning performance in either of the four matches. And with his struggles against spin quite evident, Heinrich Klassen in all likelihood should make the cut. Also, Jofra Archer looks fit and if he’s match-ready, will replace ben Laughlin in the lineup.
Probable XI: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Heinrich Klassen, Jos Buttler, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat