Jaipur: With not much difference between the two teams regarding the points, both Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals hopes are still alive for the play-off stage. It is a must win situation for both the teams, as from here on they don’t have the luxury to lose a game. After equal number of matches played, Rajasthan is slightly ahead of Chennai in the points table with 12 points while the later having 11 points.
Till now, the defending champions haven’t played up to their potential. Their bowling unit has struggled and other than Faf du Plessis, no other batsman has clicked. However, a big player like Suresh Raina’s form in this season is a bit of concern and his team would like him to fire at the earliest. Also, Dhoni being a great leader has failed to lead from the front. With the quality they have in their batting and bowling, it would not be a surprise if they make it to the final four, but their elimination from the title race would be a shocker.
Clearly the boys in yellow have an uphill task in their upcoming matches and for a berth in the play-off stage; they need to win all the remaining four games. No doubt, the team is lacking the aggression they showed in the previous editions, but they know how to shift gears as they have been in such kind of situations in the past too.
The time has come for MS Dhoni's men to act. Another loss on Thursday can dent their campaign severely.
On the other hand, with two consecutive wins, Rajasthan will be aiming for a hat-trick and inch closer to the play-off stage. Rajasthan emerged out superbly from four back-to-back losses by defeating Kings XI Punjab and Pune Warriors in a row. With Shane Watson and Shaun Tait in their dug out, they are making their skills and experience count. Moreover, their batting revolves around Rahane and Dravid, who have been in good touch with the willow. Brad Hodge in the middle-order is an assurance and a bonus with his slow off-breaks.
Before Thursday’s game, Chennai got a three day rest which means they had enough time to regroup and plan out their strategies. Murali Vijay seems to be getting his form back as he was in good nick with the bat in the last game against Mumbai Indians. The Chennai opener smashed 41 off just 29 deliveries. If he gets going with the in-form du Plessis, they can change the fortunes of Chennai in the remaining matches leading to the play-offs.
The last time these two teams met, Chennai defeated Rajasthan by seven wickets and this time around, the Rahul Dravid team would be eager to settle scores with the visitors.
Rajasthan Royals: 1 Rahul Dravid (Capt), 2 Shane Watson, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Ashok Menaria, 5 Owais Shah, 6 Dishant Yagnik, 7 Ankit Chavan, 8 Stuart Binny, 9 Brad Hogg/Johan Botha, 10 Siddharth Trivedi, 11 Shaun Tait,
Chennai Super Kings: 1 MS Dhoni (Capt), 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Murali Vijay 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Ravindra Jadeja, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Subramaniam Badrinath, 8 Albie Morkel 9 Shadab Jakati 10 R Ashwin, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus