Jaipur : When hosts Rajasthan Royals clash with Chennai Super Kings in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here Sunday, it will be a battle between two top teams trying to grab the pole position.
Both teams, along with Delhi Daredevils, have eight points from five matches. Daredevils though is at the top of the IPL standings on net run-rate. Delhi Daredevils is also playing Mumbai Indians Sunday before the Jaipur match and Rajasthan Royals and Super Kings wil have a clear idea of the points table.
Not only will Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his counterpart Shane Warne try to win the Twenty20 encounter, but they will attempt do improve their net run rate as well. The net run rate could prove crucial for a few teams in determining the semi-final spots, if more than four teams finish the eight-team competition with the same number of points.
The Super Kings were ruling the roost and were unbeaten in four matches. But Virender Sehwag’s Delhi Daredevils brought their reign to an end in Chennai Friday night.
Both Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings have played five matches and won four and tasted one defeat. All these facts make it an interesting battle in the Pink City, which will obviously cheer for Warne’s boys.
The momentum too seems to be with the Rajasthan Royals as they defeated Kolkata Knight Riders Thursday at this venue. Both batsmen and bowlers have performed well for the hosts to help script a convincing 45-run win.
Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, will have to rediscover their winning touch. Winning seemed to have become a habit with them before the Daredevils halted their run.
Chennai’s defeat came soon after their three key players – Australians Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey and New Zealander Jacob Oram – left for the tour of the West Indies and England respectively. The trio will be unavailable for rest of the IPL season.
The absence of Hayden and Hussey has been offset to an extent by the inclusion of former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and South African speedster Makhaya Ntini.
In the opposite camp, Rajasthan Royals have no such problem as none of their imported player is leaving. Royals’ team has plenty of local talent and also good foreign imports – like Graeme Smith of South Africa, Australian Shane Watson and Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir. The Royals have a well settled look about them and have evolved as a team after their first defeat against Delhi Daredevils. They look to have the edge against Dhoni’s side.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicket-keeper), Stephen Fleming, Makhaya Ntini, Muttiah Muralitharan, Albie Morkel, Joginder Sharma, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel (wicket-keeper), Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Abhinav Mukund, Suresh Kumar, Arun Karthik, Shadab Jakati, Napoleon Einstein, Subramaniam Badrinath, Lakshmipathy Balaji, R. Ashwin, Srikkanth Anirudha, Viraj Vilas Kadbe, Palani Amarnath and Manpreet Gony.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Warne (captain), Aditya Angle, Swapnil Asnodkar, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Kaif, Kamran Akmal and Mahesh Rawat (wicket-keeper), Sumit Khatri, Taruwar Kohli, Justin Langer, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Parag More, Morne Morkel, Pankaj Singh, Munaf Patel, Niraj Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Anup Revandkar, Dinesh Salunke, Jaydev Shah, Graeme Smith, Sohail Tanvir, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson and Younis Khan.