Fresh from their win over Royal Challengers Bangalore after a series of losses, Chennai Super Kings cannot afford to relax as they take on Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
Opener Murali Vijay’s impressive 39-ball 78 and Suresh Raina’s determined unbeaten 44-run knock helped Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai eke out a five-wicket win.
The last time Chennai and Rajasthan faced off, Shane Warne’s men had the last laugh after Naman Ojha produced a scintillating 49-ball 80 and Yusuf Pathan and Shaun Tait shared four wickets between them to guide the team to a 12-run triumph.
However, Chennai’s batting line up has been strengthened with the arrival of Aussie star Michael Hussey and their bowling has also get a major boost with pacer Doug Bollinger, an important cog in the Aussie wheels, joining in.
On the other hand, Royals have had a clear run in the tournament but surrendered their initiative to an embarrassing 67-run loss to Delhi Daredevils two days ago.
Based on sheer experience against youth, Chennai have an edge over Warne’s team.
Between the rivals, Royals and Chennai would be playing their ninth of the 14 league matches in the first phase of the tournament and the former have won four matches against the hosts three.
Chennai can’t afford to lose from here as any defeat would severely dent their chances of making the semifinals.
With Vijay and Raina hitting a purple patch and Hayden too getting back his rhythm, Chennai’s batting looks solid, and if Dhoni also finds his touch, the hosts would have the edge.
The Royals have won most of their matches at home and away matches seem to be their nemesis.
Warne has been a great motivator for his young teammates and his compatriot all-rounder Shane Watson’s arrival has strengthened both batting and bowling.
Yusuf Pathan, openers Michael Lumb and Ojha have been among the runs for the Royals.
Super Kings would be looking forward to reverse their 17-run loss last week in their first outing against the Royals at Ahmedabad.