Cricket

IPL 2019: Struggling Rajasthan Royals look to turn fortunes against in-form CSK

Rajasthan Royals batsman Steven Smith, who scored 28 runs, in action during the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 Twenty20 Championship cricket match between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) at M.A.Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on March 31, 2019.

Rajasthan Royals batsman Steven Smith, who scored 28 runs, in action during the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 Twenty20 Championship cricket match between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) at M.A.Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on March 31, 2019.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

Rajasthan are currently lying in the penultimate spot in the eight-team standings with just one win out of five games

Last weekend, Rajasthan Royals gave an exhibition of how not to play Twenty20 cricket.

Grinding its way to a record-breaking, below par score — with seven wickets intact — against a Kolkata Knight Riders team packed with power-hitters like Andre Russell, proved costly: an eight-wicket defeat with over six overs to spare.

Ajinkya Rahane’s men cannot afford another show like that as they get ready to take on an even more formidable opposition. Table-topper Chennai Super Kings is looking unstoppable at the moment.

Score fast

Stopping the run of M.S. Dhoni’s seasoned pros could just be what the Royals need as they try to get back into some sort of form and stay in contention. To do that, the top order has to score, and score fast.

Strangely, even Jos Buttler, the most explosive batsman in the line-up, was subdued against KKR. The team needs him to play the kind of whirlwind knock he came up with against the same side last year.

The Royals must be hoping for the return of Sanju Samson, who missed the last two games because of a thigh strain. The talented batsman, who scored the first hundred of this IPL, was seen practising at the nets over the last couple of days.

“We did not want to rush,” Royals’ batting coach Amol Muzumudar said. “We will take a look at him in the morning and then take a call.”

The Royals depend a lot on the strokeplay of Samson and Buttler, who complement the more conservative style of Rahane and Smith. Though the bowlers also had a Sunday night to forget against Kolkata, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal are proven match-winners.

It will be interesting to see if another all-rounder who could win games single-handedly, Ashton Turner, finally gets a game.

If he does, he could not have hoped for a more challenging assignment for his IPL debut. The Super Kings are threatening to win their fourth title.

Depth in batting

In Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav, their batting has the experience and depth the rivals could only envy.

Four of their bowlers are among the ten leading wicket-takers at this IPL.

Seamer Deepak Chahar and spinners Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh have been in great form.

And yes, having arguably the world’s best captain and ’keeper in the T20 cricket helps, too. He had made an unbeaten 75 (46b) in CSK’s eight-run win over Rajasthan in Chennai a few days ago.

Teams (From):

Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (C), Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Oshane Thomas, Liam Livingstone, Sanju Samson, Shubham Ranjane, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Aaron, Shashank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul Tripathi.

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (C), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan, Scott Kuggeleign.

Match starts 8pm.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 11:18:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/rajasthan-royals-vs-chennai-super-kings-preview-indian-premier-league-2019/article26796475.ece

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