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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

IPL 2018: Rajasthan Royals braced for dominant Chennai Super Kings

Rajasthan Royals, who beat Kings XI Punjab to stay in the race for a playoff berth in IPL 2018, grapple with a poor record against Chennai Super Kings as the former champions clash in Jaipur.

cricket Updated: May 10, 2018 18:42 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Back to winning ways after a hat-trick of defeats, Rajasthan Royals face a herculean task when they take on Chennai Super Kings in a must-win Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match in Jaipur on Friday.
Back to winning ways after a hat-trick of defeats, Rajasthan Royals face a herculean task when they take on Chennai Super Kings in a must-win Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match in Jaipur on Friday. (AFP)
         

When Rajasthan Royals take on Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League on Saturday, it will be their first meeting at the Sawai Mansingh stadium since May 2013. (IPL 2018 FULL COVERAGE)

The encounter between the two sides here five years ago saw Shane Watson, playing for Rajasthan Royals, get the better of MS Dhoni’s side with a power-packed performance.

However, events on the field were overshadowed by those off it. It led to the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel, appointed by the Supreme Court to probe spot-fixing allegations, call for the match to be probed. It eventually led to two-year bans on both teams until this season.

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Since the 2013 encounter, Rajasthan Royals have lost five out of six games against CSK. A lot has also changed for both sides since that encounter. Watson now plays for Chennai Super Kings and will hold the key as CSK, currently second in the points table, will aim to seal a playoff spot by beating the Ajinkya Rahane-led Royals, who are sixth and will have to do really well to qualify for the playoffs.

CSK batting the envy

Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson at the top of the order have been instrumental in Chennai Super Kings’ dominance. Watson, who scored 106 in the first meeting against Royals at Pune, will be again be the key figure as he returns to the venue where he had immense success with bat and ball.

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Rayudu’s consistency – he has scored 423 runs at a strike-rate of 151 and average of 42.3 – makes him the X-factor in batting.

The middle order has received tremendous boost due to the exploits of MS Dhoni, who has regained his finishing touch. The skipper’s batting has added an extra dimension to the team, but Dhoni will be hoping his bowlers match their performance in their previous game, when they restricted Royal Challengers Bangalore to 127/9 in the six-wicket win.

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Ravindra Jadeja’s return to form will bolster Chennai Super Kings’ bowling. The left-arm spinner will also be familiar with the venue, having featured prominently in Rajasthan Royals’ triumph in the inaugural IPL.

RR aim to stay consistent

Rajasthan Royals’ batting has suffered due to inconsistency. Jos Buttler, who has hit three consecutive half-centuries, will be the key again but Royals will need bigger contributions from Rahane and Ben Stokes. With Sanju Samson struggling a bit after a great start, Royals need others to step up.

The bowling clicked as a unit in the home win over Kings XI Punjab with K Gowtham and Jofra Archer again doing well. However, the power-packed CSK batting could put them under pressure.