Six losses and only three wins in nine matches, more questions than answers about the team composition, injury woes aplenty – These are unfamiliar problems for Chennai Super Kings and for the first time in the 11 editions that they have been a part of the IPL, they are in some real danger of not making it to the playoffs.
Rajasthan Royals, CSK’s opponents in their next encounter in IPL 2020, can say ‘we know that feel’. While it might be a bit harsh to state that they are familiar with the bottom half of the table but they are certainly not alien to the ‘do-or-die’ scenario in the business end of the tournament.
Both CSK and RR have failed to live up to the expectations so far and are placed sixth and seventh on the points table in the eight-team competition.
The two struggling teams have six points from nine games, but the defending champions are placed above on the net run rate.
Both teams lost their respective last matches on Saturday. While the MS Dhoni-led side lost to table toppers Delhi Capitals by five wickets, Rajasthan Royals were defeated by seven wickets by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
CSK: Dhoni’s problems however, appear bigger at this stage. With the injury to Dwayne Bravo – his most trsuted death-overs bowler – he will be forced to introduce Lungi Ngidi or either play a spinner between Imran Tahir and Mitchell Santner and give someone like KM Asif a go. Historically, Dhoni doesn’t like to do a string changes and give an indications to the opponents that the panic button is on. If that stays true then CSK are most likely to bring Ngidi in place of Dhoni.
RR: The Rajasthan Royals have been let down by their overseas players. Apart from Jofra Archer none of Steve Smith, Jos Buttler and ben Stokes have been consistent. But Smith’s half-century in their last match is sure to give him and RR some confidence. As far as changes for the match against CSK is concerned, Varun Aaron may replace Jaydev Unadkat, who received a hammering from AB de Villiers in the last match.
Chennai Super Kings Squad: MS Dhoni (C), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma.
Rajasthan Royals Squad: Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Andrew Tye, Kartik Tyagi, Steven Smith (C), Ankit Rajpoot, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Riyan Parag, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, Akash Singh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Shashank Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Robin Uthappa, Aniruddha Joshi, Jofra Archer.