Chennai Super Kings armed for Royal battle

The spin troika of Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja would be tough nuts to crack should they get assistance from the pitch in the clash against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.

From left: Chennai Super Kings’ Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, M.S. Dhoni and Suresh Raina after a training session at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday.   -  B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Every time Chennai Super Kings gets to business, there is a sense of belief. A feeling of triumph created by an admirable leader and executed by his army of versatile players with intellectual lucidity.

Come Sunday, it will be no different.

CSK flaunts a handsome record at home and it will be expected to reign supreme against Rajasthan Royals at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

CSK and RR are at two ends of the spectrum. While the men in yellow ticked all its boxes winning both its games, the pink brigade ended on the negative side of the result twice.

The combination of Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson at the top of the order adds a lot of firepower in the batting department. A big score is due from the duo. In T20 cricket, it is just a matter of one game considering their explosive nature.

Suresh Raina has shown glimpses of his destructive abilities in the two games so far and he would be keen to make this outing count.

READ| IPL 2019: The return of Sarfaraz Khan in a new jersey

The middle-order is tight with role-specific batters such as Kedar Jadhav, skipper M.S. Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo; and with Ravindra Jadeja in the ranks, CSK’s batting depth is no short of class.

The spin troika of Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Jadeja would be tough nuts to crack should they get assistance from the pitch and the Rajasthan batters would be wary of that threat.

The absence of Lungi Ngidi and David Willey has dented the pace battery a bit but Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma and Deepak Chahar can pull things back. If the fast bowlers fail, CSK can bank heavily on its spinners and more often than not, they have delivered the goods.

For Rajasthan, the tournament couldn’t have started on an unluckier note.

The Royals was in control while chasing 185 in its first match against Kings XI Punjab, but a middle and lower-order collapse led to its downfall.

The mediocre bowling made them suffer against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.

Rajasthan hasn’t been able to grab the right moments. From leaking runs in the power play to looking clueless at death, the bowling unit comprising Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes have a serious job on hand.

ALSO READ| IPL 2019: Scott Kuggeleijn replaces Lungi Ngidi in CSK squad

Shreyas Gopal and Krishnappa Gowtham would love to bowl on the Chepauk pitch, considering it helps the slower bowlers, but the spin duo have been erratic; causing concerns for Rahane.

The positive for Rahane is his form, along with star six-hitter Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson, the first batsman to smash a ton this season.

Sanju Samson in action against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday.   -  AFP

 

With the likes of Steve Smith and Stokes in the ranks, Rajasthan’s batting certainly looks menacing on paper but it remains to be seen if they can translate it into a performance.

Last time CSK played in Chennai, the pitch hogged more limelight than individual performances. This Sunday, the pitch should take the backstage.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :