Their house in complete disarray after eight defeats from 11 outings, Chennai Super Kings will look to give their forgettable campaign a semblance of respectability when they take on in-form Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League here on Sunday.
CSK, with six points from 11 games, still have a theoretical chance to make it to the playoffs, provided they do not lose any of their remaining three games, improve their net run-rate and all other match results go their way.
The three-time IPL winners have struggled in all departments of the game, leading to heavy criticism towards skipper MS Dhoni for not showing enough faith in the youngsters.
CSK brought in young Ruturaj Gaekwad and Narayan Jagadeesan against Mumbai Indians but both batsmen perished without opening their account.
The Super Kings batsmen were rocked by Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah’s devastating pace-bowling spell, slipping to 21 for five inside the powerplay.
Their bowlers also failed to make an impact as the “Yellow Army” suffered its first-ever 10-wicket defeat on Friday.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) October 23, 2020
Sam Curran’s half century was the only saving grace for the CSK. With 173 runs and 10 wickets in 11 games, the England all-rounder has been their silver in a devastating season.
CSK is expected to continue giving opportunities to the youngsters, treating the remaining three games as an audition for the next season.
“We have to make the most of the next three games and it is good preparation for the next year. Identify the batsmen, who will bowl at the death and hopefully the players will soak up the pressure,” Dhoni said after the loss to MI.
They run into a RCB squad which has grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed. Virat Kohli and his men are placed third on the points table with 14 points, the same as the table toppers MI and Delhi Capitals.
Rajasthan Royals face might of Mumbai Indians in must-win IPL clash
Skipper Rohit Sharma’s fitness would be a concern for defending champions Mumbai Indians as they aim to continue their dominant run, while a depleted Rajasthan Royals would hope to stay afloat when the two teams clash in an IPL match here on Sunday.
Mumbai roared back to form by crushing Chennai Super Kings by 10 wickets on Friday after their Super Over loss to the Kings XI Punjab. RR, on the other hand, lost to the Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets in their last game.
Table-toppers MI are on course to make it to the play-offs but the game is crucial for Rajasthan, who are languishing at seventh place and a loss would mean a step closer to elimination.
Questions remain on whether Rohit, who suffered a hamstring injury and missed the game against CSK, will be available on Sunday for MI.
But Rohit’s absence was hardly felt on Friday as the young Ishan Kishan (261 runs) launched into CSK bowlers with gusto.
So did Quinton De Kock (368 runs), continuing his sublime run. In the event of Rohit missing out on Sunday as well, the two will open again.
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) October 24, 2020
Mumbai’s middle-order has also been among runs — be it Suryakumar Yadav (243 runs), Hardik Pandya (164 runs), swashbuckling West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard (208 runs) or Krunal Pandya (82 runs).
With their big-hitting ability, the Pandya brothers and Pollard are a threat to any opposition.
MI bowlers are also wreaking havoc, especially New Zealand left-arm pacer Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah, who are lethal upfront and in the death.
The two have accounted for 33 wickets, while Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile (2 wickets) has supported the duo.
Spinners Krunal (5 wickets) and Rahul Chahar (13 wickets) are equally aggressive in the middle overs and perform the dual task of containing and grabbing wickets with utmost ease.
For Rajasthan, the biggest worry is the form of skipper Steve Smith, who has made 265 runs from 11 matches and a mis-firing top-order.
In the course of the season, Rajasthan have made constant changes at the top and that has hurt them badly.
The team does possess quality players like Ben Strokes (110 runs), Sanju Samson (272 runs) and Jos Buttler (271 runs), but the trio has failed to deliver collectively.
With two crucial points at stake, the management would be hoping that the three click on Sunday, something which has not happened this season.
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) October 24, 2020
All-rounder Rahul Tewatia (224 runs and 7 wickets) has been a revelation with both the bat and ball, but too much is being left for him to achieve.
Their younger players are also getting starts but need to convert them and take responsibility in case the seniors misfire again.
On the bowling front too, RR lack consistency.
Only Jofra Archer (15 wickets) has been effective with his pace but has failed to get support from fellow pacers Karthik Tyagi, Jaydev Unadkat and Ankit Rajpoot, who have 12 wickets combined. Spinner Shreyas Gopal has leaked 343 runs from 11 games.
With Tyagi giving away 42 runs against SRH, he could be replaced by Varun Aaron. Stokes as a bowler has been unimpressive as he has failed to get a single wicket so far.
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