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There is a reason why IPL is the best T20 league in the world and it is because of how different things seem before we actually see the reality. IPL 2020 so far has been a season favoring the teams that have batted first. Targets that seemed easy to chase became difficult towards the death overs. Sharjah was one of the only grounds that gave teams hope that batting second can be an option too.

However, the last three games have been completely opposite of what was anticipated. Three teams playing at three different grounds, all venues where chasing is not thought of as the best option saw results going in the favor of the chasing team. It started with Mumbai chasing a comparatively smaller total with ease.  

However, the next two chases were really beautiful as Bangalore chased a target of 178 with 2 balls to spare, courtesy of the Proteas AB de Villiers and Rajasthan’s Jaydev Unadkat. The most recent and the third chase happened at Sharjah, a ground known for raining sixes. However, the last two games at Sharjah saw the pitch getting slower as the game progressed, making it tougher for the batsman to play their strokes freely.

Despite all this, Shikhar Dhawan played a gem of an innings as he scored a ton and took Delhi Capitals through the line against the struggling Chennai Super Kings. A lot of people were seen cribbing over the fact that Dwayne Bravo was unavailable and unfit to bowl the final over, and could’ve easily turned the game in Chennai’s favor.  

No one knows what could’ve happened but for Chennai, the game was already lost when they let an in-form Shikhar Dhawan get away not once, not twice but three times. Dhawan scored more than 60% of the target and he was the architect of Delhi’s fantabulous run chase.

Just after a day’s rest, Chennai will take on the Rajasthan Royals at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on the 19th of October. Will Chennai fight back? Or is it over for Dhoni and Co.?

Head to head

Matches: 23, CSK: 14, RR: 9

Team News

First things first, Chennai are most likely going to be without the services of Dwayne Bravo and thus, will have to pick a suitable replacement. Imran Tahir, last season’s purple cap winner could make his IPL 2020 debut or Josh Hazlewood may be given a run of games now that the extent of Bravo’s injury is uncertain.

The batting order has finally seemed to gain some momentum back but Chennai would still try to be the team batting first. Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis have got their rhythm back but converting the 30s into 50s and 100s is now what is required from the veterans. Rayudu played well against Delhi too and the team will hope that the batsman put up a good total on the board for the bowlers to defend.

For Rajasthan, Steve Smith looked in fine touch in the last game but it was their death bowling that let them down. Only Jofra Archer was an exception as he was consistent with his line and length and did not let any batsman free his arms. Tewatia was again effective with the bat as he scored a crucial 19 off 11 balls.  

The last time the sides faced each other, Chennai had a pretty slow start to the chase and that helped Rajasthan towards the end as CSK lost marginally. Rajasthan are not expecting any changes but things will have to be sorted out with Unadkat.

Pitch and Conditions

The Abu Dhabi pitch has been a paradise for the bowlers especially spinners as it gets slower with every passing over. By the team, a team comes to chase, it becomes really exhausting to bat throughout without playing any loose shots. A score around 170 will be a really good one, considering the team has good spinners on their side.

The sky will be clear and the temperature along with the humidity are expected to be on the lower side. The temperature will be around the 30-degree mark while humidity is anticipated to be around 55%.

Probable Playing XI

Chennai Super Kings (CSK): Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Kedar Jadhav/N. Jagadeesan, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma

Rajasthan Royals (RR): Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith (C), Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (WK), Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Kartik Tyagi, Jaydev Unadkat/Ankit Rajpoot

Key Battles

Faf Du Plessis (CSK) vs Jofra Archer (RR)

Faf Du Plessis (CSK) vs Jofra Archer (RR)

This head to head battle will be a must-watch Faf du Plessis has been Chennai Super Kings’ most consistent player and his last innings was a proof of that. He was going to face Rabada who is currently the purple cap holder but Faf took his time before taking his fellow Proteas on.

Jofra Archer has been exquisite with his bowling this season irrespective of his position in the purple cap race. His bowling has been economical and he has been a crucial member in all the victories Rajasthan have managed to put together. Both the teams are desperate for a win and both these players will have huge responsibilities as they step on the field.

Let’s see if Faf manages to him out of the park or loses his wicket to the English international.  

Deepak Chahar (CSK) vs Ben Stokes (RR)

Deepak Chahar (CSK) vs Ben Stokes (RR)

Deepak Chahar was back to his best as he not only bowled an economical spell but he also managed to strike twice, getting two great batsmen out before they settled well. Dhoni would’ve felt his need especially in the middle overs when Dhawan started to find his feet and CSK seemed to have no options.

However, Chahar did his job perfectly as Chennai clearly looked the favorites after the powerplay. However, Chahar has to take some blame too as he put down a simple catch according to the fielding standards he’s set in the tournament and a couple of other dropped opportunities helped Dhawan to take the game away from them.

Ben Stokes is yet to show his best skills in the game and this game would be a perfect opportunity for him to do so. Having played with Chahar during his time with the Rising Pune Super giants, Stokes would try to attack Chahar, having faced him day-in-day-out in the nets when they played together.  

Prediction

Both the teams have the potential but they are still very far from it. Their position in the points table shows how vulnerable they have been, while the teams will have to understand that it is now or never. Any more losses from here on will crush their hopes of making it to the playoffs lesser.

However, that does not mean that they don’t play their natural game. Both the teams will have to back their strengths and make sure they pull out one thing or the other from the areas they don’t look comfortable in.

The fourth spot is still open for both and a win here will only take them a step further in the race to win in the playoffs, consequently leading them to the IPL trophy.

Cricwizz predicts Chennai  super kings to win the game