Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Wobbly Royals face point of no return. Will Dhoni get more batting time ahead of the Playoffs?
Will Dhoni get more batting time ahead of the Playoffs?
The first team to seal a playoffs berth in the Indian Premier League 2021, the Chennai Super Kings' true colours are quite visibly vivid. They've now made the IPL playoffs in 11 editions of 12. A handsome six-wicket win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad helped CSK to their fourth win on the trot, with no losses in the UAE leg yet.
A key factor in CSK's success has been stability – both in batting and bowling. Their openers have given them good starts, their middle order has decimated spin, enjoying the cushion of batting really deep. Although spin has been used sparingly, the pacers have done their job more than satisfactorily. While the clinical CSK juggernaut looks unstoppable, they're up against a struggling Rajasthan Royals, who have squandered three chances now of breaking into the top four.
RR have only one win since the tournament moved to the UAE and are in search for an answer to their batting woes. Having struggled in the PowerPlays in the Indian leg, they're now struggling to finish games off with their middle order in desperate need for runs. Evin Lewis, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson are the only ones among the runs. Chris Morris has struggled in the UAE, while Liam Livingstone is yet to make an impact. They are now hanging by a thread with their remaining three games must-wins.
When: RR vs CSK, October 2, 2021, 19:30 IST, 18:00 local time
Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: The wickets in Abu Dhabi haven't been pacey as they were in 2020. However, chasing has been a more comfortable option for the evening games. The temperature will be around 37 degrees around match-time with high humidity.
Head To Head: RR 9 – 15 CSK. Moeen Ali claimed 3 for 7 in the reverse fixture at the Wankhede Stadium earlier this year.
Injured/Unavailable: No fresh injuries since RR's last game against RCB
Tactics & Matchups: Kumar Sangakkara's acknowledgement that Morris hasn't done as well as he would've liked, suggests that a change may be likely. In the first-half of the season, Morris had 14 wickets in 7 games; in the UAE, he has played 3 games for an economy rate of over 11 and no wickets. With RR requiring to win the remainder of their games, they may opt to bring in the pace of Oshane Thomas to inject some spunk into the bowling in the middle overs. However, Morris has a good record against CSK, picking 11 wickets in 6 games at 15.73 and an economy rate of 7.31. In the last game against RCB, he was taken for 50 runs in four overs.
Livingstone's paltry returns may see David Miller or Glenn Philips given a go and RR may replace Parag with Shivam Dube to add to the batting depth given his string of single-digit scores.
Probable XI: Evin Lewis, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Liam Livingstone/David Miller, Mahipal Lomror, Riyan Parag/Shivam Dube/Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris/Oshane Thomas, Chetan Sakariya, Kartik Tyagi, Mustafizur Rahman
Chennai Super Kings
Injured/Unavailable: No fresh injuries since CSK's last game against SRH
Tactics & Matchups: Samson has struggled against CSK, scoring just 154 runs in 10 innings, with one innings worth 74. He has only scored 39 runs in 28 balls against Deepak Chahar. Most of his runs have come against Ravindra Jadeja (60 in 35 balls). Both Bravo and Jadeja have done supremely well against RR, with 34 wickets between them. Bravo also averages 53.75 against RR, with 215 runs in 12 innings. Dhoni too has a liking for RR, with 495 runs in 22 innings, averaging 41.25. In order to manage workload, Hazlewood may be rested for Sam Curran. Moeen Ali may also be brought in the Powerplay for Evin Lewis, who has struck at just over a run a ball against offspin in the last two years.
Probable XI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood/Sam Curran.
Did you know?
– 453 runs by Samson is the most for him in a season in IPL and this is the first time he has averaged 35+ in a season.
– CSK and RR are two sides which have used the fewest overs of spin – 25.7% and 26.3% respectively.
What they said:
“The bowling has managed to keep us in the tournament. Even today the attitude they showed under pressure was really very good. But we need to find ways to improve how to finish innings with the bat and how we manage the PowerPlay and the fielding.” – Kumar Sangakkara, RR's director of cricket, after the loss to RCB.