Bombay: Jos Buttler, who had been hit by a boil in the last few games, would be eagerly looking forward to an inexperienced Chennai Super Kings attack to secure a play-off spot for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL here on Friday.
A victory will last Sanju Samson‘s men to 18 points and help them avoid all permutations or combinations for a top-four finish.
In fact, a win puts the Royals in the top two as they will enjoy a superior Net Run Rate (NRR) of +0.304 compared to Lucknow Super Giants’ +0.251.
Against this background, Royals wants to dull the fire CSKwho may turn out to be “party poopers” in their final match.
To prevent, Buttlerwho currently leads the batting list with 627 runs, will have to do better than scoring 22, 30, 7, 2 – his contribution in the last four games.
The Royals’ success in the tournament has a lot to do with brilliant starts from Buttler, who has three hundred and as many fifty – most of his runs were scored in the first half of the tournament – and Yuzvendra Chahal’s 24 wickets.
While Chahal has maintained his consistency, there has been a slight drop in form in Buttler’s case, but the final league game is an ideal time to raise the bar for the play-offs.
Rookies Mukesh Choudhary, Simarjeet Singh and ‘Baby Malinga’ Matheesha Pathirana will be happy to show their wares one last time, but the confidence of the CSK unit has been dented due to poor hitting power for most of the tournament.
While Buttler tops the batting list for the Royals, Ruturaj Gaikwad came late to the party with 366 runs, but none of the others crossed the 300-run mark. Devon Conway, who played more games in the second half, has 236 runs to his name.
Bowling suffered greatly from the absence of an injured Deepak Chahar and the inability to hold Josh Hazlewood. It was wafer thin in terms of experience and they paid the price.
Pathirana, with a swinging action quite similar to Malinga, has tickled Dhoni’s imagination, but he’s a work in progress. Likewise, players like Mukesh (16 wickets), Simar (3 wickets) and spinner Mahesh Theekshana (12) are good but not yet assured match winners.
The Royals’ bowling attack is arguably one of the best in the tournament, with spin duo Chahal (24 wickets and ER of 7.76) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10 wickets of 7.15) causing a lot of trouble for the batters.
Prasidh Krishna (15 wickets) was sharp most days and when Trent Boult (12 wickets) gets the ball first in the right-handers it will be difficult for a top order.
The qualification of the Royals is in their own hands and they want to keep it that way with a win over Chennai Super Kings.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (Captain), Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Ambati Rayadu, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Santner, Chris Jordan, Adam Milne, Devon Conway, Shivam Dube, Dwaine Pretorius, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Tushar Deshpande, KM Asif, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Subranshu Senapati, K Bhagath Verma, Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (C), Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Shimron Hetmyer, Devdutt Padikkal, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal, Riyan Parag, KC Cariappa, Navdeep Saini, Obed McCoy, Kunay Senh , Karun Nair, Dhruv Jurel, Tejas Baroka, Kuldip Yadav, Shubham Garhwal, James Neesham, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rassie van der Dussen, Daryl Mitchell, Corbin Bosch.
Match starts at 7.30pm.
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