Rajasthan Royals aim to regain top spot beating CSK
JAIPUR: Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings made contrasting starts to their IPL season this year. While the Royals had a dream opening and maintained their position at the top for nearly three weeks, CSK overcame a scratchy beginning to jump to the top of the table with 10 points.
After a near-perfect launch, RR’s campaign got derailed a bit as they suffered a couple of narrow defeats in their last two matches to slip to the third spot with eight points. On the other hand, CSK are going from strength to strength on the back of three straight wins.
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The Royals will aim to regain their top place on the points table when they clash with formidable CSK at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Thursday. With an impressive NRR of 0.884, a simple win in their eighth match will help RR overtake GT and CSK in the points tally.
Last year’s runners-up, RR would like to arrest the slide and upset Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK for the second time this season. Despite the back-to-back losses, the fact that RR had beaten CSK by 3 runs in their backyard will certainly give them a lot of confidence going into this crucial home match.
Sitting pretty at the pinnacle with four wins in five matches, RR succumbed to two close defeats from winning positions. In their last home game, RR fell short by 10 runs while chasing a target of 155 against Lucknow Super Giants, exactly a week ago.
The Sanju Samson-led side then faced another heart-breaking seven-run defeat against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru. After the end of the RCB game, Samson said his players need to pull up their socks.
RR’s top-order will have to click in a big way to get the better of mighty CSK. Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Samson needed to fire together against the strong CSK bowling attack. The Royals fans are hoping Shimron Hetmyer repeats his innings as they stunned defending champions Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad.
The form of Devdutt Padikkal gives plenty of hope to RR. The stylish southpaw is beginning to excel in the middle of the innings.
Spin is the strength of both teams but on paper RR look a better prospect. Samson might be tempted to add Adam Zampa to the playing XI with Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal sure to start on a slow SMS pitch.
CSK’s top-order of Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Ajinkya Rahane and Shivam Dube are scoring at a healthy strike rate. Opener Conway is the second highest scorer this season with 314 runs from seven matches.
A new-look Rahane has emerged as the surprise package for CSK. It will be Rahane’s first match after regaining his berth in the Indian Test squad.
Watch IPL 2023: Can Rajasthan Royals break their 2 match losing streak against formidable Chennai Super Kings?