The Rajasthan Royals are all set to start off their campaign on Tuesday night against the Chennai Super Kings, who already have a win under their belt, after they defeated Mumbai Indians by five wickets in the season opener on Saturday.
The Rajasthan Royals will be happy enough to have their skipper Steve Smith back after missing out the ODI series against England due to concussion, but they have a few more issues to look into. We bring you some of the talking points ahead of the game between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings.
Buttler and Stokes
The Rajasthan Royals as they go into the first game will be missing the services of England duo Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes. Although Buttler has arrived in the UAE, he is undergoing his extended quarantine with his family, while Ben Stokes is still in New Zealand with his family. This leaves the Royals with two huge gaps to fill in.
While the opening slot of Jos Buttler might be plugged in with the selection of India U-19 star Yashasvi Jaiswal, who has a burgeoning reputation in domestic cricket , the replacement for their mighty all-rounder Ben Stokes is a big question for them. There is Tom Curran who had a plenty of match time in the England vs Australia limited overs series, and then there is David Miller, who is an experienced campaigner in the Indian Premier League. But, the question still remains, will they be good enough to fill in the big boots of Stokes.
Spin to win
With the match scheduled at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium tonight, a high scoring match is expected, with Sharjah traditionally being a high scoring ground. Especially with shorter boundaries, the quicker bowlers tend to travel faster to the boundary. Here, the spinners can come in very handy, slowing it down through the air. The CSK side seems better equipped in the spin department, with Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja bowling impressively in the first game, and Imran Tahir in the dugout, if needed.
Meanwhile, in the Rajasthan dugout, barring Buttler, none of the batsman had a strike rate of over 120 against spin last season. And with Buttler not playing tonight, the Rajasthan Royals might be a little shaken up, if the CSK decides to go with a spin heavy attack.
The Rajasthan Royals had the poorest economy of 11.3 in the death overs last season, and with Sam Curran coming good in the last match at the death, the CSK might fancy their chances to make a steady, slow start, given they have the best finisher in the world in the form of MS Dhoni in their team.
The raw pace of this England speedstar has been at his deadly best with some impressive performances for his national team. Archer has the third-best economy among all bowlers at the death. He has dismissed Rayudu twice and Watson once and can be a good option right up-front for Smith.
What do stats say? (since 2018)
– Since the both teams return to the IPL in 2018 post a two year ban, the CSK have won three out of the four matches head-to-head
– The team batting second has won 26 out of the 46 T20s played in Sharjah
– Average score is 161, while the average winning score is 175
Rajasthan Royals: 1 Robin Uthappa (wk), 2 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 Riyan Parag, 7 Shreyas Gopal, 8 Jofra Archer, 9 Jaydev Unadkat, 10 Varun Aaron, 11 Tom Curran
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Shane Watson, 2 M Vijay, 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Sam Curran, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Deepak Chahar, 11 Lungi Ngidi
Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings
Venue – Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Toss – 7pm IST
Match Time – 7:30pm IST
Match can be viewed on the Star Sports Network and the Disney + Hotstar VIP subscription