Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, the finalists of the inaugural edition of the IPL way back in 2008, will face off in Abu Dhabi on Monday with their hopes of staying afloat in the tournament after a disastrous start to the 2020 edition.
With just three wins from six games for both teams, Monday’s clash is a do-or-die game for the former champions. Both sides need to win their remaining five matches to have any hope of qualifying.
CSK’s campaign has suffered due to the absence of key players like Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh. The team suffered a big blow during its clash against Delhi Capitals when Dwayne Bravo picked up a groin injury, which is going to keep him out of action for the next few days.
While the batting worked well against the Capitals, its fielding fell short with as many as four dropped catches which allowed Shikhar Dhawan to score an unbeaten ton.
For Royals, much like CSK, its issues stem from its batting unit. Their key batsmen haven’t delivered. The one silver lining though is the fact that Steve Smith finally managed to score a half-century in a losing cause against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The key men
In the first match between the two sides, both Smith and Samson played brilliantly to set up a win for Royals at Sharjah and the duo would want to repeat the same on Monday.
For CSK, the replacement for Bravo is going to be key. The team has two spin options in Mitchell Santner and Imran Tahir while Lungi Ngidi and Josh Hazelwood are the pace options. Hazelwood, in the only game he played against Capitals, bowled well and will be a favourite to replace Bravo to help CSK in the death overs.
Head-to-head: Total matches: 23; CSK 14; DC 9.
Chennai Super Kings: Murali Vijay, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (Captain & Wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Kedar Jadhav, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Lungi Ngidi, Karn Sharma, Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur, Monu Kumar, Mitchell Santner, R. Sai Kishore, N Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif
Rajasthan Royals: Steve Smith (Captain), Jos Buttler (Wicketkeeper), Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Robin Uthappa, David Miller, Ankit Rajpoot, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Mayank Markande, Shreyas Gopal, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh, Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye, Rahul Tewatia, Shashank Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anirudha Joshi, Tom Curran and Anuj Rawat.