IPL 2013: Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals – Live IPL Score
Two losses in three matches at Chepauk wasn’t exactly the script the Chennai Super Kings were looking at ahead of the season.
But three away wins have calmed the nerves and MS Dhoni’s men will take the field at home on Monday against Rajasthan Royals with a lot of confidence.
The Kings and the Royals have logged four wins, albeit in contrasting styles and this game is extremely crucial as the league reaches its midway point. If nine wins is the cut-off for the last-four stage, the team winning on Monday can start believing that they are closing in.
CSK, though, have their areas of concern. The top-order has looked good on wickets that have some pace and bounce, but the moment it has become a slow grind, they have struggled.
More than the two home losses, the stuttering chase of a paltry 120 on a sluggish Eden Gardens pitch on Saturday suggests that all is not well with the batting of the two-time champions.
“The top-order is an area of concern for us. The batsmen haven’t been as consistent as they should have been, and we need to address the issue quickly,” CSK captain MS Dhoni said on Saturday.
However, Dhoni himself has been in prime form, along with Ravindra Jadeja, who has been in his elements both with the bat and the ball.
Jadeja has played a couple of crucial innings coming in the death overs and Dhoni would hope that he carries on. “I am happy that I came good at crucial junctures. But I have to keep it going,” the left-hander said.
For Rajasthan Royals, Ajinkya Rahane is in fine form at the top, and skipper Rahul Dravid will bank on Shane Watson to deliver the goods in Chennai.
Against CSK, a good start is absolutely crucial and the Aussie, who has just left the national vice-captaincy, has to bring his experience into play to counter the canny CSK bowlers.
The fact that Watson has resumed bowling should make Dravid really happy. He got a couple of wickets against Royal Challengers on Saturday and the skipper would hope that his star gets better with each game.
The seamers Kevon Cooper and Sreesanth have chipped in regularly and it’s to be seen whether the Royals team management opts to use the extra pace of Shaun Tait to push the CSK batsmen onto the backfoot.
“It’s a long tournament still. We still haven’t played our best cricket. One of the good things I like about our team this year is that we have got the balance that allows us to play better away from home,” Dravid said, talking about his team’s chances.