The Chennai Super Kings face the Rajasthan Royals in their new home ground at Pune. Both teams are coming from a loss in their previous games to KXIP and KKR, respectively. Both teams have also been quite fortunate in the IPL so far, with Chennai being bailed out twice by individuals and RR through the disastrous DLS.
Raina is still unfit for the fixture while Dhoni’s back suffered a knock against Punjab where he almost single-handedly took his team home. Rajasthan, on the other hand, has relied on the brilliance of Samson and Rahane to get by. Who will step up for these teams this time around?
Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Rahul Tripathi, D Arcy Short, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Heinrich Klaasen, Ish Sodhi.
Chennai Super Kings
MS Dhoni (c), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, David Willey.
Where the Teams Stand
The Royals have been heavily dependent on Sanju Samson for their runs. His brilliance propelled them to victory against Bangalore, but his early dismissal against KKR spelled doom for his team. Rahane was hitting the ball crisply in the last match, and so was D’ Arcy Short towards the latter half of his innings. However, a return of 44 from 43 balls is simply not enough from Short. Rahane, though, scored 36 from 19 at a strike rate of 190. The middle order fell short once again, with Stokes and Tripathi failing to get going. Even Buttler struggled, but he has been a lone ray of hope in that middle order recently. Overall, the batting is still top heavy and heavily reliant on individuals to play the big innings.
Rajasthan will desperately be hoping Jofra Archer can be fit as soon as possible given the state of their side. He is bound to be back for any match now, and his team needs him. While Shreyas Gopal has been one of the most economical bowlers in the tournament so far, the attack is falling short on quality. Unadkat and Laughlin continue to disappoint while Stokes and Gowtham have not been consistent either. The attack needs some teeth to compete with the best in the league, something they are sorely missing as of now.
Fantasy Picks: Rahane, Samson, and Gopal are obvious picks for the game. Everybody else is a risk, but Buttler is perhaps the safest bet.
Chennai Super Kings
Chennai won their first two games on the back of stunning performances from Bravo and Billings. They lost the third one but came close thanks to Dhoni’s refusal to give up despite his injury. While Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson have shown glimpses of brilliance, they need to start contributing more to the cause. Vijay is an IPL veteran with CSK, but will probably take a few games to adjust. Jadeja is almost being selected just for his fielding, while Bravo has been finicky with his performances. The good news for CSK is that someone always manages to step up. The bad news is that there is no way to stability as a result of the uncertainty that CSK always find themselves in with the bat.
CSKs bowlers have conceded approximately 200 in both their previous two games. Imran Tahir and Shane Watson have perhaps been the best bowlers for them so far, but they need to improve if they want to keep winning. The batsmen cannot be expected to chase 200ish every match. Chahar was brilliant in the first game against Mumbai, but his game has drastically dropped since. Same goes for Bravo. Bhajji had an off day against Punjab, but he was great against both KKR and MI. It will be interesting to see if David Willey features in the next game, but it will have to be at the expense of Dwayne Bravo if he does. Overall, CSKs attack looks quite vulnerable, maybe as much as RR’s does.
Fantasy Picks: Watson, Rayudu, and Dhoni have been in good form recently. Bhajji and Tahir are reliable as well. Billings might also be worth gambling on.
CSK win. They look much better equipped for this match than RR does.
Who will win this latest IPL 2018 clash? Let us know in the comments and poll below.