CLT20 2013 Preview: Confident Rajasthan Royals take on Chennai Super Kings in semi-final

Rajasthan Royals have won all their four matches at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in the CLT20 2013 © IANS

By Dinesh Sharma
 
Jaipur: Oct 3, 2013

 
There is little to separate as Rajasthan Royals, who have turned the Sawai Mansingh Stadium into a fortress with a 12-match winning streak, lock horns with the ever-formidable Chennai Super Kings in the first semi-final of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 in Jaipur on Friday.
 
Rajasthan breezed into the last-four stage of the tournament with an unbeaten four-match streak while the Chennai, the first team to have advanced to the semi-finals, stumbled in their final group game against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.
 
The 2010 champions, Chennai, are aware that their opponents have not lost a single game in this venue in the last Indian Premier League (IPL), and add the home side’s performance in the ongoing tournament, the record surely wears an invincible look.
 
Considering that they will be playing in front of the home crowd, the scenario is ideal for Rajasthan captain Rahul Dravid, though he also knows that the tournament’s toughest challenge awaits them.
 
The hosts know the conditions like the back of their hands and the strategies that they planned had been executed well. But then again, Chennai, led by the redoubtable Indian captain MS Dhoni, could be an altogether different proposition.
 
Rajasthan would do well to not read too much into Chennai’s defeat on Wednesday.
 
On a day when nothing went right after three successive wins, the famed Chennai outfit crashed to an eight-wicket defeat after being bowled out for 118. While the Chennai bowlers had no answer to Trinidad and Tobago’s Lendl Simmons (63), they would hope to dish out a much better display with both bat and ball on Friday.

The visitors have tremendous depth in their batting and bowling. In Dhoni, they have a cool and shrewd skipper who is also in blazing from with the willow.
 
Though he may not have done much against Trinidad and Tobago, Dhoni’s 19-ball 63-run knock against Sunrisers Hyderabad is testimony to the kind of form he is in.
 
Suresh Raina and Michael Hussey are as solid as ever and Murali Vijay has also shown good form. Ravindra Jadeja has not been up to the mark but he can be never be counted out.
 
The likes of Subramaniam Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo and Ravichandran Ashwin give their batting the much-needed depth down the order.
 
Their bowling too has variety and options in Jason Holder, Bravo, Albie Morkel, Ashwin and Jadeja.
 
On the other hand the hosts, who have not put a foot wrong do far in the tournament, can take heart from the fact that the visitors have suffered a tame defeat to Trinidad and Tobago.
 
The conditions in Jaipur suit them and they have been able to get the better of many fancied teams, be it in the IPL or in the ongoing tournament.
 
They do not have too many big stars but certainly have players who know their role. In Dravid, Shane Watson and Brad Hodge they have the experience and class which is supported by energetic and talented youngsters like Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Kevon Cooper and Ashok Menaria.
 
All these young players are eager to keep proving their mettle in the top leagues.
 
The hosts also have the bowling, which has teeth and variety. Watson, Shaun Tait are seasoned campaigners while rookie Vikramjeet Malik, Rahul Shukla and Pravin Tambe have been used as surprise packages.
 
It would not be wrong to assume that the Pink City is set for a high-voltage clash between two formidable sides.
 
Teams:
 
Rajasthan Royals (Probable): Rahul Dravid (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson (wk), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Rahul Shukla and Pravin Tambe.
 
Chennai Super Kings (Probable): Murali Vijay, Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Albie Morkel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jason Holder, Mohit Sharma.
 
Time: 20.00 IST | 14.30 GMT

Champions League (CLT20) 2013 Match Schedule