Rajasthan Royals are set to host Chennai Super Kings on Thursday, May 10, 2012, in what promises to be an intriguing game between teams contending for a place in the play off round.
With KKR, DD and MI looking likely to qualify for the knock out round, the fourth place is up for grabs with four teams competing for it, the other two being RCB and KXIP.
RR’s resounding demolition of PW in their last match coming on the heels of their win against KXIP on the weekend got their campaign back on track, helping them to displace CSK from 4th place on the points table. The face-off with CSK is crucial for both teams, especially for the defending champions on whom the pressure of expectation appears to have weighed heavily, this season. By contrast, RR have relied on a bunch of relative unknowns like Menaria and Amit Singh to get to where they are. Only recent did Watson join the team after getting back from national duty.
RR appear to be peaking at the right time. Orange cap holder, Rahane, has been in consistent form throughout and along with Dravid, he has forged arguably the most reliable opening partnership of the competition. Tait’s brilliant turn in the game against PW has given the bowling a new dimension. Tait came in, replacing the injured Cooper who can both bat and bowl. But with the induction of Watson, and the presence of the likes of Shah and Botha down the order, Dravid can afford to dispense with Cooper.
CSK have fiddled with their batting order to no avail. Hussey’s return was expected to solve problems but only ended up breaking a good opening pairing between Badrinath and Du Plessis. The calm assurance of Badrinath was the perfect foil for the calculated belligerence of Du Plessis, especially in the face of Vijay’s poor form in the early part of the tournament. Badrinath has been relegated down the order and that hasn’t done the team any good, though Vijay’s return to form must be welcomed.
Hilfenhauz’s profligacy in the last three balls against MI cost CSK the match and possibly a play off slot. That could bring Kulasekara back to the side whose bowlers haven’t shown the kind of penetration needed to win the title. Morkel has been the sole exception, while Ashwin has bowled well in patches.
A win on Thursday could boost CSK’s morale sufficiently to cause them to steamroll their rivals in the remaining games and qualify for the knock out round. But breaching the fortress at Jaipur’s Sawai Man Singh Stadium against a resurgent RR will need some doing.
RR’s probable eleven: Dravid, Rahane, Watson, Menaria, Shah, Chavan, Botha, Binny, Yagnik, Tait, Trivedi.
CSK’s probable eleven: Vijay, Du Plessis, Raina, Badrinath, Bravo, Dhoni, Morkel, Jadeja, Ashwin, Jakati, Kulasekara.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.