Match Preview – Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, Indian Premier League 2024 2024, 61st Match

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Match details

Chennai Super Kings (4th; W6, L6) vs Rajasthan Royals (2nd; W8, L3)
Chennai, 3.30pm IST (10am GMT)

Big picture: CSK in a spin

Will this be MS Dhoni‘s final home game in the IPL? He played through a severe knee injury last year. He has been pushing through side strains and other discomforts this year. Even under that duress, he has produced some vintage moments, but CSK are suddenly in a bit of a fight to make the playoffs.

They would ideally want to win both of their two remaining games but this one comes with barely any time to prepare and against one of the most well-rounded teams of recent years. RR don’t have a title to back the claim but they have been the most consistent unit since 2022. Plus, they have won each of the last four meetings against CSK. Central to that is the performance of their spinners, particularly R Ashwin, who has intimate knowledge of how Chepauk behaves. With this being an afternoon game, there is every chance that spin will dictate terms.

Form guide

Chennai Super Kings LWLWL (last five matches, most recent first)
Rajasthan Royals LLWWW

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Chennai Super Kings

CSK have carried Ajinkya Rahane all through this campaign and now at the pointy end, they are stuck with a batter who is out of form. Dropping him now and having a youngster take on a role as important as opener might be just as big a risk but they could potentially use Daryl Mitchell up there and make room for Sameer Rizvi down the order as a ten-ball hitter.

Likely XII: 1 Rachin Ravindra, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Ruturaj Gaikwad (capt), 4 Daryl Mitchell, 5 Shivam Dube, 6 Moeen Ali, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 MS Dhoni (wk), 9 Mitchell Santner, 10 Shardul Thakur, 11 Tushar Deshpande, 12 Simarjeet Singh

Rajasthan Royals

Donovan Ferreira attended the pre-match press conference, which suggests he might once again make the XI, which in turn suggests Shimron Hetmyer isn’t quite up to speed yet (and there might be a degree of caution in play here since he is part of the West Indies squad for the T20 World Cup in June). The other question RR face is between choosing Rovman Powell, who will have it tough on a spinning pitch, and Keshav Maharaj, who is an excellent weapon to have as a bowler, but shortens the batting line-up.

Likely XII: 1 Jos Buttler, 2 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 3 Sanju Samson (capt & wk), 4 Riyan Parag, 5 Shubham Dubey, 6 Donovan Ferreira, 7 Rovman Powell/Keshav Maharaj, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Avesh Khan, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Sandeep Sharma, 12 Yuzvendra Chahal

In the spotlight: Shivam Dube and Yuzvendra Chahal

Given the expectation of a slow pitch, batters capable of coping with that become instant difference-makers. That is Shivam Dube to a T. With his long reach and incredible power, he has the ability to send good balls soaring over the boundary. Most teams have tried to hide their spinners when he is at the crease – he has faced only 40 balls from them – but RR won’t shrink like that. They have quality in their attack.

Yuzvendra Chahal has broken back into India’s T20I team through sheer weight of wickets. This is a time when even wristspinners are asked to be quick through the air and Chahal has understood that, occasionally getting the speed gun up to 95kph, but in between those, he still trusts the old, loopy legbreaks that seem like they could go the distance before they end up as catches on the boundary. He has lost some of his form over the last few games – 1 for 48, 0 for 62, 0 for 48, 1 for 41, 0 for 54 – but three of those took place in Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad, which have been extremely high-scoring venues. In Chennai, he might have better luck.

Stats that matter

  • The MA Chidambaram stadium is the toughest challenge for a visiting team, with a win percentage of only 27.3%. Therein lies solace for CSK. In a crunch match, against a big team, they will be happy to draw on the strengths of their home crowd and familiar conditions. The only thing is, their fortress has been breached twice already this year.

  • Jos Buttler has unfavourable T20 match-ups with Mitchell Santner (80 runs off 70 balls, one dismissal), Moeen Ali (74 off 51, with five dismissals) and even Maheesh Theekshana (51 off 45, no dismissals) if CSK consider bringing him in.

  • But if CSK go all in on spin, that brings Yashasvi Jaiswal into the fray. He is a left-hand batter, and Ravindra Jadeja and Santner’s stock ball will be turning into his hitting arc. Jaiswal, in the IPL, averages 67 against spin with a strike rate of 144.

  • Sanju Samson vs Jadeja is an all-action match-up with 73 runs in 52 balls and three dismissals.

  • Dhoni might not be spending too much time at the crease but it is all by design. He is fulfilling his cameo role perfectly, to the extent that he has the highest strike rate (227) by any batter during the first five balls of their innings this season.

  • Ashwin has won eight of the 11 matches he has played against CSK. He has 13 wickets against them at an economy rate of 7.75.

Pitch and conditions

There have only been four day games in Chennai since the end of 2019. Three of them went in favour of the chasing team. Two of them produced sub-140 totals by the team batting first. That’s when the ball holds in the pitch, and when the evening comes, it gets better to hit through the line. The problem with chasing, though, is that team will have to spend a lot of time melting away in 40°C heat.

Quotes

“I don’t think really that you can be 100% prepared because this heat and this humidity is crazy. But hopefully we’ve been training in this heat and this humidity the last two days so that should condition us to be ready for the game
Rajasthan Royals batter Donovan Ferreira

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