Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals desperately need a victory on Monday to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for playoffs.
The league table is getting tighter in IPL 2020. The top four teams seem to have opened up a decent lead over the bottom four, but there is still hope for every team in the tournament to make it to the playoffs. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) will be looking to boost their chances when they meet each other on October 19 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
CSK suffered a gut-wrenching defeat against Delhi Capitals in their last game. The Chennai based team managed to take the game till the final over, but Axar Patel smashed three sixes to make sure that DC maintain the winning run. The performance from CSK for most of the game was fine, but they need to get results to stay alive in the tournament.
RR also had a similar fate in the last game as AB de Villiers scored 55 runs from 22 balls to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to victory from an unlikely position. Steve Smith’s men had done a lot of good work in that game, but everything was undone by a brilliant knock from de Villiers.
CSK has found it difficult to chase in this tournament, so it is not surprising to see their better batting performances in the last two games when they were sent to bat first. Shane Watson and Faf Du Plessis remain the key men for CSK in the batting unit, while Ravindra Jadeja has been scoring freely down the batting order.
Meanwhile, RR made a lot of changes to their batting order against RCB. Most of the changes worked as Robin Uthappa was fluent while opening the innings. Steve Smith also returned to form with a well-composed half-century. Jos Butler and Sanju Samson need to get back to their best to give RR a chance to qualify for playoffs.
MS Dhoni has not been let down by his pace bowlers for the majority of this tournament. Deepak Chahar has been getting breakthroughs in the power play, while Dwayne Bravo is also getting wickets in the death. The spin bowlers have been struggling for CSK throughout the tournament, leaking runs consistently.
RR has one of the best pace bowlers of the tournament in their lineup. Jofra Archer has been a consistent performer for the team. However, he has not been well supported by other bowlers. Smith will be hoping that other bowlers click sooner rather than later to arrest the team’s poor run of form.
RR and CSK are entering the territory where they have to win every game to have slim chances of making it to the playoffs. The loser of Monday’s game will not be mathematically out of the contention, but it will take something extraordinary to make the top four for that team. It is a do or die situation for both teams, making it an exciting encounter on paper.
By Kiran Thakare