IPL: Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals Preview

Cricketer hits ball

The Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals will slug it out in Pune in Friday's only IPL fixture. 

The Chennai Super Kings will be looking to bounce back strongly following their narrow loss at the hands of the Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.

The Rajasthan Royals, meanwhile, have endured a mixed bag of results at the start of this campaign. They’ve won two out of their four games and sit level on points with Friday’s opposition, having played an extra game.

CSK vs RR | Friday 20 April | Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune | 16:30

To Win Match
Chennai Super Kings 72/100
Tie 35/1
Rajasthan Royals 23/20

Chennai Super Kings
Much has been made of the way in which the Super Kings construct their innings. Their batsmen tend to be more conservative at the start before catching up a bit later. As much was evidenced in their last outing against the Kings XI Punjab.

Ambathi Rayudu and MS Dhoni perhaps gobbled up too many balls in the middle part of their chase and ultimately came up four runs short of their 197-run target. The strategy has served them well in this tournament already, however, you have to question not employing a different approach in the face of such a big total.

I’d also like to see Dwayne Bravo employed further up the order. He shown on two occasions just how valuable he can be if he faces a few of deliveries. I have no idea what Ravindra Jadeja was doing coming in ahead of the West Indian last time out, especially considering the sort of form that Bravo is in at the moment.

Another thing to consider heading into the match is the fact that the Super Kings are not playing at home. They will have to make the nearly 1200 kilometre journey to Pune to fulfil this home fixture. The franchise is doing its best to get supporters over there by arranging a charted train to ferry 1000 fans to the match and back. A great gesture from team management although it'll have very little impact in a stadium that can host upward of 37 400 fans.

Rajasthan Royals
The Royals were well undercooked in their Wednesday fixture against the Knight Riders in Jaipur. With just two days between that defeat and Friday’s showdown as well as the 1800-odd kilometres between Pune and Jaipur, you can rest assured there will be some tired bodies come Friday. The likes of Imran Tahir, Shane Watson and Harbhajan Singh come to mind here.

There is now enormous pressure on Ben Stokes to deliver for his new franchise. The most expensive player in this year’s auction – costing an astounding Rs 12.50 Cr – he simply hasn’t performed as expected. With a meagre batting average of 15.50 and a just single wicket to his name this season, the Englishman needs to pull finger fast or risk falling out of the playing XI altogether.

Much will depend on the top order trio of Ajinkya Rahane, D’arcy Short and Sanju Samson. Short has taken a while to come to grips with the competition, but his 43-ball 44 against KKR showed us that he is slowly finding his feet in the IPL following an incredible Big Bash campaign with the Hobart Hurricanes.

Something needs to change within the Royals’ bowling attack. Both Jofra Archer and Ish Sodhi can add a lot more bit to an attack that has only managed to pick up 16 wickets in four matches thus far. Ben Laughlin is one player who can make after returning a tournament economy rate of 10.39 while taking just three wickets. 

Verdict: Rajasthan Royals 23/20
If the Royals' management make a few decisions regarding bowling personnel (Archer in for Laughlin at the very least) and their top three fire once again, they’ll have the measure of the Super Kings. You also need to consider that this match will be played at a ‘neutral’ ground, something that will no doubt give the ‘away’ team a bit of a boost. 

Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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