A confident Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will aim to maintain their dominance in the IPL when they host bottom-placed Rajasthan Royals at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Sunday.
While the defending champions are sitting at the second spot in the points table with two wins from as many games, Rajasthan have lost both their games and it will be a herculean task for the Ajinkya Rahane-led side to stop Chennai, one of the most successful teams in IPL history.
Meanwhile, all eyes will also be on the Chepauk wicket as just 141 runs were scored here in the first game of the season featuring Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai. Rajasthan's batting unit has done an excellent job so far, but their bowlers have let them down.
Despite posting a challenging 198/2 against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday, the Rajasthan bowlers failed to restrict their opponents as most of them leaked runs. Only Shreyas Gopal had a perfect outing with impressive figures of 3/27 and the team management would expect him to replicate the show on Sunday.
Rajasthan batsmen Sanju Samson, Jos Butler and Rahane have performed on expected lines, but will have to come out with something special when they face the experienced Chennai bowlers.
On the other hand, the Chennai bowlers have done a fair job till now and are likely to give a difficult time to the visiting batsmen on the Chepauk wicket.
Veteran Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo have impressed in both the matches and will look to keep the momentum going. While Tahir and Bravo have four wickets each from the two games, Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan have three each.
The Chepauk wicket assisted the spinners in the last game and Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is likely to stick with his spin bowling trio of Jadeja, Tahir and Harbhajan. Dhoni would however expect his batsmen to fire, who have been average so far. With the likes of experienced Suresh Raina, all-rounder Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Bravo and Dhoni, Chennai have the ability to overhaul any massive target or post a mammoth total.
Meanwhile, it will also be interesting to see how the Chepauk wicket behaves on Sunday. Speaking after the opening game, both Dhoni and RCB skipper Virat Kohli had said that they were expecting a better wicket.
Overall, the 12th game of this year's league will be a contest between Chennai's bowlers and Rajasthan's batsmen.
Squads: Chennai Super Kings: Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Murali Vijay, Karn Sharma, Faf du Plessis, Sam Billings, Mohit Sharma, Dhruv Shorey, Monu Kumar, Mitchell Santner, Chaitanya Bishnoi, N Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Prashant Chopra, Manan Vohra, Aryaman Birla, Stuart Binny, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone, Shubham Ranjane, Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag, Mahipal Lomror, Ish Sodhi, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Sudhesan Midhun
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First Published: March 31, 2019, 9:17 AM IST