Friday 11th May 2018

Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings

Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

The games are coming thick and fast now in IPL 2018 and that might suit the Rajasthan Royals down to the ground as they look to build on the feel good factor of their home victory against Kings XI Punjab. Sport is all about confidence and momentum – and another victory for the Royals could launch them towards a successful campaign and a play off place.

There is a slight concern that Jaipur is a bit less “Fortress Like” this season - we have lost two out of our five games here this season. It’s also worrying that Chennai Super Kings have won 12 out of the 18 matches played against us in the IPL – they are something of a bogey team for us. However, we did beat them in the match that matters, the Final of the Inaugural IPL back in 2008, so that could be a good omen as we look to win the trophy again ten years on!

Jos Buttler is in supreme form for us with scores of 67, 51 and 82 in his last three matches and he is going to be a key player. It is highly likely he will be one of the openers again, most likely with skipper Rahane who will surely start to score significant runs soon. The team's batting will also depend on Sanju Samson who has scored the most runs for the Royals in this tournament, although Jos is catching up fast. The Royals will also need Ben Stokes to step up to the plate – if he scores big runs he will score them quickly, and the match could effectively be over.

In the bowling department, it will be mainly up to the likes of Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Krishnappa Gowtham and Ish Sodhi to deliver the goods. Archer with nine wickets in five matches looks the most threatening of the lot and he could hurt the Super Kings with a few early strikes. Top batsmen like Chris Gayle find his raw pace disconcerting. It will be interesting to see his duel with former Royals favourite Shane Watson. Unadkat seemed to be hitting form in the last match (despite some punishment at the end when the game was won) and Gowtham and Sodhi spun the ball beautifully. This combination could prove to be a highly potent attack with Ben Stokes completing the line up.

We are currently placed sixth on the IPL 2018 points table with four wins and six defeats from ten league fixtures. Beating Kings XI Punjab has boosted our chances of going into the sudden death stages of the tournament – but we will have to win at least three of our remaining four games to have any chance of making it to the playoffs, possibly all four. A home fixture is precious – we musn’t waste it.

The main batsmen lying in wait for us in CSK colours will be Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Watto and skipper MS Dhoni. Rayudu is currently second in the season's runs charts and he looks set for a good knock against the Royals given the kind of form he has shown in the past few matches. Watson scored 106 off just 57 balls against us in the reverse fixture at Pune and a similar performance would hurt us badly in this match. Go easy on us old pal!

Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur and Dwayne Bravo will be the go-to bowlers for the Super Kings. Thakur and Bravo had both taken two wickets apiece against the Royals and they will look to trouble us again, but if some of our in form batsmen continue to flourish the boot may be on the other foot in this fixture...

The Super Kings are sitting comfortably in second spot in the league standings, having won seven and lost just three out of the ten league matches they have played so far. They may look to rest players and rotate their squad – which would certainly suit us! CSK now need just two wins from their remaining four games to confirm their place in the play offs.

The Royals will be playing under a lot more pressure, as a defeat in this game will severely dent their chances of advancing through to the playoffs. Our players responded well to similar pressure against Punjab, so that may be no bad thing. A ‘backs to the wall’ mentality suits Team Mentor Warne, so it may well suit his proteges too…

We have lost four of our last five matches against the Chennai Super Kings, including the 64-run loss at Pune earlier in the season, so it won’t be an easy ‘ask’ – but if we can emerge from this fixture with two points then who knows how far in this tournament we could go?

Team News

Rajasthan Royals made three changes in their side for the last game against the Kings XI Punjab, bringing in Mahipal Lomror, Stuart Binny and Ish Sodhi in place of Rahul Tripathi, Shreyas Gopal and D'Arcy Short and the changes clearly worked. We won that match quite comfortably and it will be a surprise if we don’t retain that winning team for the clash against the Chennai Super Kings.

Chennai could be without the services of some of their mainstream players for this match. They will likely be without seam bowler Deepak Chahar who is still recovering from his hamstring injury. Faf du Plessis missed the last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore and so did Karn Sharma and KM Asif. Meanwhile, England fast bowler Mark Wood who played just one game for CSK this season, has now been released from the squad, so he certainly won’t be featuring in this match.

Teams’ Form in their Last Five Matches (most recent first)

Royals : W L L L W

Super Kings : W L W L W

Toss Prediction for this fixture

Three of the last five matches at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium this IPL have been won by the side that batted first. Since the pitch is expected to offer more assistance to the bowlers during the second-half of the game, in particular the spinners like last time round, the team that wins the toss here may want to bat first. Let’s hope the coin favours Jinks again!

RR v CSK Head to Head in Previous IPLs

Chennai Super Kings have won 12 and lost 6 out of the 18 matches they have played against us in the Indian Premier League. We have managed to beat Chennai just once in our previous five head-to-head encounters.

Total Matches: 18… Rajasthan Royals Won: 6; Chennai Super Kings Won: 12

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