The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 23 , 2014
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Batting gives CSK the edge

Dubai: Back in the familiar role of winners, after recording their biggest-ever victory in terms of runs, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will fancy their chances when they lock horns with Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Indian Premier League here on Wednesday. RR are, however, seeking to get back to winning ways,

Two-time winners CSK will be high on confidence after inflicting an embarrassing 93- run defeat on Delhi Daredevils on Monday at Abu Dhabi. The Super Kings needed a morale-booster like that after starting the campaign with a defeat.

On the other hand, inaugural edition champions RR started their campaign this year with a win, but failed to stop Kings XI Punjab from chasing down a 190-plus total in their last match.

Both teams have one victory and one defeat each so far in the tournament.

The Super Kings will be looking to their strong batting line-up to seal the deal for them. Suresh Raina, who struck his 20th 50 in IPL on Monday, will again be the man to watch out for. The left-handed batsman has been one of the most prolific batsmen in the IPL.

The experienced Brendon McCullum is expected to give the team a brisk start and lending him support at the top will be Dwayne Smith, who can change his game according to the need of the hour. When needed he can play big shots and if the situation demands, he can play the role of anchoring the innings.

Faf du Plessis is always dangerous and Ravindra Jadeja is a dependable bat as well. And then there is Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The captain will be eager to have a good hit in the middle. The India captain smashed 32 off only 15 balls against Delhi DareDevils.

As far as their bowling is concerned, there has been no individual brilliance so far, but they have clicked well as a unit. On Monday, their disciplined bowling strangled the Delhi batsmen who stumbled to the humiliating defeat. The bowlers were also helped by superb fielding by Raina and Du Plessis.

For the Royals, Ajinkya Rahane and Stuart Binny shone with the bat in their opening match while captain Shane Watson and Sanju Samson hit quick half-centuries, though in a lost game, in the next.

Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Shane Watson and Stuart Binny have all played one good innings so far, while Steve Smith and James Faulkner have strike rates of 180 and 177.8 at the moment. And their bowling line-up has a number of options that can be counted on to keep the opposition batsmen quiet even when the going gets tough.

Pravin Tambe and Kane Richardson have both had two good outings and, while Faulkner has struggled, Rajat Bhatia and Dhawal Kulkarni are good options in this format. Bhatia, in fact, was one of the big stars in the win over Hyderabad. And what Samson and Watson did with the bat against Punjab would have won Rajasthan the game against most other teams.

The Super Kings bowlers called the shots against the Delhi DareDevils, but much like the Rajasthan bowlers, they too were taken to the cleaners by Kings’ XI Pubjab earlier.