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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

IPL 2024: Rajasthan Royals look to end wait for last-four berth in clash against Chennai Super Kings

Chennai pitch is expected to help spinners, which could be a bit of relief to CSK as that gives greater scope to Ravindra Jadeja of being more effective

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 12.05.24, 09:52 AM
The brains behind Rajasthan Royals, director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara (left) and captain Sanju Samson, need to sort a few issues after back-to-back losses

The brains behind Rajasthan Royals, director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara (left) and captain Sanju Samson, need to sort a few issues after back-to-back losses Picture courtesy: Rajasthan Royals

By this stage of the competition, Rajasthan Royals would have expected their playoffs berth to be sealed as they were sitting pretty at the top for quite some time. But back-to-back losses have delayed their qualification, as a little bit of pressure will be on the Royals going into Sunday's clash against the Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Sanju Samson and his teammates will certainly be looking to confirm their last-four berth in Chennai itself even though they have two more games after Sunday. The situation, in other words, is trickier for the Super Kings as they need to win their remaining two matches in order to take their points tally to 16, which then will brighten their playoffs prospects. Finishing on 14 may make matters dicier for Ruturaj Gaikwad and Co.

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If the Royals have had problems in their last couple of games, the Super Kings have been inconsistent right through this IPL. Without Mustafizur Rahman and Matheesha Pathirana, their bowling attack has been lacking teeth, something that Shubman Gill and Sai Sudharsan had shown in the Super Kings' 35-run loss to Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad on Friday.

The Chennai pitch is expected to help spinners, which could be a bit of relief to CSK as that gives greater scope to Ravindra Jadeja of being more effective. The hosts can look to tie the Royals batting line-up down with spin.

The Royals would obviously expect openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler to get them off to a sound start as that should make the going smoother in the Chennai conditions for the rest of the batting group. Captain Samson's form though bodes really well for the Royals, especially the kind of composure he has shown as well as his temperament right through the tournament.

Team composition-wise, however, the Royals have to decide whether they should continue with Rovman Powell or bring in South African left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, given Chennai's spin-friendly conditions. How leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, quite expensive lately, performs will also be crucial for the Royals.

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