Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings – CSK in line for a second win
IPL 2020 preview: Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings – Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah – September 22, 2020 – 15:00hrs BST.
CSK in line for a second win; Stokes and Butler to miss Sharjah clash
Despite being one of the less glamorous franchises in the Indian Premier League, Rajasthan Royals have loads of talent with players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, David Miller and Robin Uthappa filling their rosters.
The presence of Stokes, the most expensive player in the IPL, will be under a cloud with the phenomenal English all-rounder set to miss a few matches for his side owing to personal reasons.
Another match-winner Jos Butler will not be available for the Sharjah game.
But RR are not short of talented stroke makers with Sanju Samson, Uthappa, Riyan Parag and Under-19 find Yashasvi Jaiswal dotting their ranks.
RR's problems with death-over bowling may have ended with the inclusion of Tom Curran, who was in such splendid form against the Aussies in the recent limited-over series and he will have the ferocious pace of Joffra Archer and Andrew Tye to go along with.
However the sluggish pitches of UAE may however suit the medium pace of someone like Jaydev Unadkat and Shreyas Gopal who is as good as any leg-spinner playing in the competition.
While the Royals looked strong on paper before the tournament, the absence of Stokes and Butler will indeed leave a gaping hole in their batting going into Tuesday's desert duel against a strong Chennai bowling attack.
So, lot will fall on the shoulders of Robin Uthappa and Yashasvi Jaiswal as far as building up a good score goes.
Chennai Super Kings showed that even without some of their top players like Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Dwayne Bravo they are a side to be reckoned with when they beat champions Mumbai Indians on Saturday with relative ease in the tournament opener.
The big relief for CSK was that Faf du Plessis batted beautifully at number three, a slot that the absent Raina monopolized for a decade.
Ambati Raidu will still be the bulwark of the middle order as he proved with his swashbuckling 71 against MI. Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni will complement Raidu to form what is a decent middle order.
Even the tail-end has folks like Sam Curran and Ravinder Jadeja both of whom can bat a bit.
The poor form of Shane Watson and Murali Vijay at the top could be a concern for CSK selectors although they have options in newbies Narayan Jagadeesan and RutuRaj Gaikwad – one of them could be brought in to fill in Vijay's shoes in the opening slot.
The CSK attack have good fast bowlers in the form of Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran and Deepak Chahar while their slow-bowling arsenal consists of the wily wrist spinner Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja.
Ms Dhoni probably may go with the same side that beat MI but may be tempted to bring his top wicket-taker, South African wrist spinner Imran Tahir in place of Chahar given the slowness of the Sharjah track.
Both sides may prefer to field first with dew setting in on the field during the latter half. Even though the surface is likely to get slower with the passage of play, the dew might just make the batting a whole lot easier for whoever chases.
So, the captain winning the toss will most likely choose to bowl first. CSK look the favourites nothwithstanding who wins and will also be helped by the absence of the two star English players in the rival camp.
Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings Odds
CSK to win: 4/5
RR to win: 1/1
Top Chennai Super Kings Batsman
Shane Watson: 3/1
Faf du Plessis: 3/1
Murali Vijay: 4/1
Ambati Rayudu: 7/2
MS Dhoni: 7/1
Narayan Jagadeesan: 6/1
Dwayne Bravo: 12/1
Kedar Jadhav: 7/1 (BetFair)
Top Chennai Super Kings Bowler
Imran Tahir: 5/2
Lungi Ngidi: 5/2
Deepak Chahar: 10/3
Piyush Chawla: 4/1
Josh Hazlewood: 4/1
Dwayne Bravo: 7/2
Mitchell Santner: 4/1
Karn Sharma: 9/2
Sam Curran: 9/2 (WilliamHill)
Shardul Thakur: 9/2
Ravindra Jadeja: 7/2
Top Rajasthan Royals Batsman
Steven Smith: 7/2
Sanju Samson: 4/1
Robin Uthappa: 4/1
Riyan Parag: 9/2
Ruturaj Gaikwad: 5/1
Yashasvi Jaiswal: 11/2
David Miller: 11/2
Top Rajasthan Royals Bowler
Jofra Archer: 9/4
Tom Curran: 10/3 (WilliamHill)
Andrew Tye: 11/4
Jaydev Unadkat: 4/1
Shreyas Gopal: 7/2
Ankit Rajpoot: 4/1
Riyan Parag: 13/2Bet on Cricket at Bet365