The MS Dhoni-led side has won five out of their six games and are currently at the top of the table. Meanwhile, things haven't quite gone as per the plans for Rajasthan who are languishing at No. 7 with just one victory to their name in five encounters. What will hurt them even more is that they have lost two out their three games at their fortress.
Ajinkya Rahane's men were completely outplayed in their last match against Kolkata Knight Riders. The likes of Jos Buttler, Steven Smith, Rahane, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson and Rahul Tripathi have done well in patches but the team management will want the entire batting set-up to click as a unit.
Rajasthan desperately need some firepower and that's where someone like Manan Vohra, Ashton Turner or Liam Livingstone can chip in. There are still some doubts over Sanju Samson's availability and Rahane and Smith aren't someone who can take the game away from the opposition in the matter of few overs. The team management will have to make some tough calls if they want to turn their fortunes around.
Meanwhile, after spinning every opponent out at Chepauk, Chennai will now play four consecutive away matches in the space of 11 days. They recently outplayed Kolkata and it won't be easy for Rajasthan to outsmart Chennai even in their own castle. Chennai's biggest strength is experience and they know how to get the job done, even if that makes them look dirty.
It was because of their experience Chennai beat Rajasthan by eight runs when they last met on March 31st. The Men in Yellow were in a spot of bother at one stage but Dhoni didn't panic and kept knocking around before finally unleashing in the last five overs. Something similar happened in the bowling as well, with 12 needed off six deliveries, Dwayne Bravo brought all his experience and conceded only three runs.
Chennai, however, will be slightly worried about Shane Watson's form. The all-rounder from Australia has only managed 105 runs in six games but it's unlikely that Chennai will replace him this early. The franchise is known for backing their players, which means Sam Billings might have to still wait for his turn.
There's also a high possibility that one of Mohit Sharma or Shardul Thakur might be included in the XI in place of Harbhajan Singh considering the Jaipur surface won't turn as much as Chepauk's.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Jos Buttler: The wicketkeeper-batsman from England struggled to get going against Kolkata and Rajasthan will hope he is at his best against the formidable Chennai side. Buttler will have to be slightly careful if Dhoni opts to attack him with spinners.
Imran Tahir: With nine wickets to his name, the 40-year-old leg-spinner has been in some form this season. Tahir has done well in all the six games including two away matches where he didn't get the same amount of purchase that he gets at Chepauk. He will once again be Dhoni's trump card and the skipper will look to use him smartly against the likes of Buttler, Smith and Stokes.
TEAM NEWS/AVAILABILITY UPDATES
RR: There is no update on Samson but the home team might bring in one of Vohra or Turner into the XI.
CSK: Dwayne Bravo is out with injury. The visiting team will most probably add an extra seamer in place of Harbhajan.
RR: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Dhawal Kulkarni, Steven Smith, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Prashant Chopra/Manan Vohra, Krishnappa Gowtham, Rahul Tripathi, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Sudhesan Midhun/Jaydev Unadkat.
CSK: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Scott Kuggeleijn, Deepak Chahar, Mohit Sharma/Shardul Thakur/Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir.
RR: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Dhawal Kulkarni, Steven Smith, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Prashant Chopra, Krishnappa Gowtham, Rahul Tripathi, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Sudhesan Midhun, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Manan Vohra, Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Liam Livingstone, Shashank Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Shubham Ranjane, Oshane Thomas, Riyan Parag, Aryaman Birla.
CSK: Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Karn Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis, Deepak Chahar, Sam Billings, Mohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Dhruv Shorey, Scott Kuggeleijn, Monu Kumar, Mitchell Santner, Chaitanya Bishnoi, N Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif.
First Published: April 10, 2019, 8:32 PM IST