RR lost their previous encounter vs CSK © AFP
RR lost their previous encounter vs CSK © AFP

Match 43 of ongoing VIVO Indian Premier League 2018 sees Rajasthan Royals (RR) host Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Sawai Man Singh stadium, Jaipur. In their previous face-off, CSK walked past RR courtesy a brilliant ton from RR’s former skipper and all-rounder, Shane Watson. RR seems to have found a settled XI, one that defended a moderate total versus Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), and will like the home advantage to work for them once again. If they pass the litmus test, posed by a competent CSK line-up, they may give Mumbai Indians (MI) a tough fight for a top four finish.

Talking about RR’s last clash, against KXIP, they edged past the opposition despite a moderate score. Jos Buttler’s 82 wasn’t well supported but the side managed 158 for 8 in 20 overs. Their bowlers had failed to defend 153, in the reverse fixture, but gave a good fight. As a result, they were adamant to change the outcome this time around. Backed up some good fielding, Ajinkya Rahane and co. stayed in contention for the playoffs with a 15-run victory. Like in their previous outing versus KXIP, RR couldn’t get rid of KL Rahul (95*) but ensured he found no support from the other end. A rejuvenated RR can keep the business end of league stages on their toes if they manage to strangle CSK.

CSK, on the other hand, are coming to this contest with a much-needed 5-day break. They last played on Saturday (May 5) when they hosted Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their adopted home turf at Pune. It was a quality performance by CSK bowlers; especially spinners, who set up a 6-wicket win for their side. Harbhajan Singh remained economical, while Ravindra Jadeja finally made his presence felt in this season. CSK would want vice-captain Suresh Raina to get a good hit before the next round commences. He has been off colours barring some occasional blitz. The batting will again be reliant on Watson, Rayudu and skipper MS Dhoni.

Rajasthan Royals Likely XI

Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Krishnappa Gowtham, Stuart Binny, Mahipal Lomror/Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni

Chennai Super Kings Likely XI

Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (wk & c), N Jagadeesan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, David Willey, Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur/Deepak Chahar (if fit)

Predictions

RR have posted a mini comeback with a win over KXIP. However, the odds are pushed against them despite facing CSK at home. They are in a must-win situation, whereas CSK will play freely as they are almost certain of qualification to the playoffs. A tense encounter is on the cards. Jaipur pitch has a bit of assistance of bowlers, and we may see a moderate-scoring clash.