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|Jofra Chioke Archer||4.0||0||42||2||10.50|
This IPL season has been one of two halves with four teams struggling and four being dominant. Unfortunately for the Rajasthan Royals, they have been in the half that has been struggling and is now faced with a must-win situation in all of their remaining matches. They will be taking on the Chennai Super Kings who are very well placed in the top half of the table at the moment. It is looking more and more likely that CSK will qualify for the playoffs with ease and their concern will be staying in the top-2. Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, are locked in a battle with the Mumbai Indians to try and sneak in the last playoff spot.
A brilliant win in the last match defending a small total would have given the Rajasthan Royals a lot of confidence. Winning from such positions is not something that they have done too much this season and we think it should have some knock-on effect.
Rajasthan began the match by making some important changes. Darcy Short made way for Ish Sodhi as both teams recognized that the pitch could help the spinners during the match. Ajinkya Rahane moved back up the opening slot at the only position he really fits into this team and K Gowtham was given a much bigger role in trying to stop Chris Gayle from teeing off.
Some of those moves paid off while others did not but it showed that the Rajasthan Royals were on top of their game and thinking innovatively. They will have to make some similar specific plans for CSK as well and try to win some important matchups.
The last time these two teams played, Shane Watson scored a century on an absolute belter. His inning allowed the other batsmen to play freely as well and CSK ended up with a huge score. Rajasthan has strengthened its bowling lineup with the inclusion of Ish Sodhi which is something they will also probably need to do against CSK.
We are not sure of AJinkya Rahane would have had a place at the top of the order or even in the team in most franchises but that is where he is the best at. Leaving Darcy Short out allows Rajasthan to play with two outstanding bowlers, Archer and Sodhi, with support from Ben Stokes, Gowtham, and Unadkat.
That is a pretty strong bowling attack on paper.
Their batting has received a tremendous boost as well ever since Buttler has moved to the top of the order. His 82 in the last match on a difficult pitch proved to be the difference between the two sides in the end.
If somehow Ben Stokes can find some form and play a substantial inning or two in the upcoming matches then Rajasthan may have a chance to pull off something incredible. Currently, Buttler and Samson are the two players that the Royals are banking heavily on and there is no doubt that batting is their weaker suit.
Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler, SV Samson, Prashant Chopra, BA Stokes, STR Binny, Jofra Chioke Archer, K Gowtham, AN Sharma, JD Unadkat, IS Sodhi.
CSK basically ended the chances of RCB in their last match and will be looking to do the same to Rajasthan Royals in this match. At first glance, CSK seems to be the much stronger team in this contest and should be able to easily best their opponent.
CSK’s biggest strength has been its batting and that has been down to the performances of MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayadu, and Shane Watson. Even if those three fail then there is enough firepower and talent in that line-up to come up with a competitive total or put together a difficult chase.
Adding David Willey to the team has only strengthened that batting lineup and provided them with an option with an aggressive left-hander at the top of the order if they so wish to use him that way.
We do believe, though, that this lineup is vulnerable to quality spin on a slow track.
If the last match at Jaipur is any indication then batting is going to be tough at the venue. Getting off to a quick start will be very important because once the new ball becomes softer then boundaries will dry up. If CSk loses a couple of early wickets and that of Shane Watson, in particular, they could find the going tough against some very good Rajasthan Royals bowlers.
Shane Watson played for Rajasthan Royals for a very long time and had tremendous success with them over the years. He will like returning to the venue and hopefully reprise some of his best innings.
He is the one batsman we would love to back in this match.
CSK’s bowling has been problematic this season particularly on flat batting tracks. Give them a little bit of spin, though, and their bowlers start to come into their own. Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, and Dwayne Bravo are masters at utilizing a slow wicket with some spin on offer.
The new ball attack of Lunge Ngidi and David Willey is pretty good as well.
A few changes to the CSK lineup over the course of this tournament has allowed them to whittle down their playing lineup to one that they are comfortable with and one that should be able to win them matches in most conditions.
The captaincy of MS Dhoni in what could be a close match will be a huge advantage as well.
SR Watson, Ambati Rayudu, SK Raina, Sam Billings, MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, David Willey, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, SN Thakur.
We think that the team winning the toss will want to bat first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Another very hot day with no chance of rain has been forecast for match day. Spectators can rest assured that they will be treated to a full uninterrupted match but player comfort will be a concern. Summer has well and truly set in and the spinners will start to see a lot more help from pitches that have been used repeatedly over the last few weeks.
A match with scores of around 160 seems to be likely.
The Rajasthan Royals have only managed to defeat the Chennai Super Kings in one out of their last five encounters. They will have to come up with some good plans and hope to put them under pressure from the start.
Beating CSK in current form is not going to be easy, however, and we are going to stick with the men in yellow for this one.
Back CSK to win.