Rajasthan, with tournament hopes hanging by a thread, turned a winning corner in their previous game defeating Punjab by 15 runs. They are now back in with a chance for a top-four finish in the remaining games as MS Dhoni-led Chennai come calling tonight. Rajasthan will be gunning for a win that will see them reach 10 points in 11 games – the same as Kolkata and Mumbai. With the battle for the fourth slot in the Playoffs heating up, a win tonight will make Rajasthan the third team that will vie for the position in the table. Chennai, on the other hand, will look to win and seal a Playoff berth for themselves.
As Rajasthan step out in pink jerseys (to promote Cancer awareness), they will also be hoping for a change of colours in their fortunes from the previous encounter against Chennai. Then, they ran into a rampaging Shane Watson who batted as if he had a point to prove against his former franchise. But times have changed rapidly since that game on April 20.
After losing three consecutive matches, Rajasthan managed to keep their slim hopes of qualifying for the playoffs alive with the win over Punjab in their last game. Average performances by captain Rahane and Sanju Samson and below-par shows by star English all-rounder Ben Stokes and Rahul Tripathi has hurt Rajasthan badly and the hosts need their batting unit to fire in unison against a formidable Chennai. English wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler came to the rescue in their last match smashing a 58-ball 82 to take the hosts to 158 for eight, a target which their bowlers defended, thanks to impressive performances from Krishnappa Gowtham, Kiwi spinner Ish Sodhi and Jofra Archer.
Chennai on the other hand, are sitting pretty on second with 14 points from 10 games and a win itonight should be enough to seal their place in the playoffs. Returning to the tournament after serving a two-year suspension, they are in red-hot form this season under talismanic skipper MS Dhoni – their batsmen are firing on all cylinders but the bowling still remains a concern despite a fine performance against Bangalore in their last game – restricting their cross-border rivals to 127 for nine, a target which they chased down with six wickets in hand. The Chennai batsmen, though, are on fire and most are among runs with Ambati Rayudu, Australian Shane Watson, West Indian Dwayne Bravo, skipper Dhoni and Suresh Raina all contributing when the team has needed them.
Date: Friday, May 11, 2018
Venue: Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Jaipur
Rajasthan – 6
Chennai – 12
Team Record at Sawai Man Singh Stadium: Even Stevens here at 2 – 2.
Rajasthan – Ajinkya Rahane(c), Jos Buttler(w), Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Mahipal Lomror, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi, Anureet Singh, Rahul Tripathi, D Arcy Short, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ankit Sharma, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Ben Laughlin, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, Heinrich Klaasen
Chennai – Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Dhruv Shorey, MS Dhoni(w/c), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, David Willey, Harbhajan Singh, Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur, Faf du Plessis, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, N Jagadeesan
Expected Playing 11
Rajasthan: Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Mahipal Lomror, Stuart Binny/Rahul Tripathi, K Gowtham, Ish Sodhi, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Anureet Singh/Dhawal Kulkarni
Chennai: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Dhruv Shorey, MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, David Willey, Harbhahan Singh, Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur
The previous game played at the venue has left some aftershocks which give both Chennai and Rajasthan a lot to think about. The pitch for that match against Punjab, began with the ball coming on nicely and Jos Buttler cashing in early to make the Powerplay count. But the dramatic deterioration after that left both teams surprised while also having an effect on the eventual outcome of the game. The ground has already been well below the mark for the average number of sixes hit owing partly to its size, and now will pose a few more problems for batsmen as temperatures are on the rise.
Will Rajasthan survive tonight? Only time will tell!
Who is your Super 8?
Super 8 Pick: Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, K Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, David Willey
Leagues up in the Lobby!