What a matchday we had yesterday! It was undoubtedly the best day of cricket in IPL history. 2 games, and 3 Super Overs! I mean, 3 Super Overs was the maximum no. Of Super Overs in one whole season. Then 2020 happened. And now, we’ve already had 5 Super Overs, including the world’s first ever ‘Super Over Tiebreaking Super Over’. Okay, definitely had enough of those two words now.
Anyway, the Chennai Super :I Kings and the Rajasthan Royals will face off at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi today. Let’s talk about some things that separate these 2 teams from the rest.
What Sets These Teams Apart
These are the 2 bottom placed teams. Yup, even lower than KXIP now. Effectively, this is the battle for the wooden spoon. These are also the only 2 teams in this IPL, who haven’t played a Super Over this season. It’s only fair that they both get to play one today. And CSK is the only team in the IPL, to never have won a Super Over in IPL history! So, if it does reach that stage (which is more than probable according to me), past record suggests RR will have the edge.
Chennai Super Kings Probable XI
- Sam Curran*
- Faf Du Plessis*
- Shane Watson*
- Ambati Rayudu
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c) (wk)
- Kedar Jadhav
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Deepak Chahar
- Shardul Thakur
- Piyush Chawla
- Imran Tahir*
If there’s one team who is more confused about their playing XI than Rajasthan Royals, that team is the Chennai Super Kings. The main criticism of their team selection up till now has been that the purple cap winner from last season, Imran Tahir, isn’t even being played. On UAE pitches. On grounds like Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Maybe Dhoni wants to leave everything for the last (much like his batting style). Anyway, hopefully they get some sense injected into them, and bring in Imran Tahir today for the injured Dwayne Bravo.
Bravo’s injury in the last game really does come as a blessing in disguise for the Yellow Brigade. Now, if they don’t want to play Tahir for whatever reason, they can bring in Josh Hazlewood to curb the leak in the death. CSK lack experienced pacers, and even more so in the absence of Bravo. Perhaps Hazlewood may even be prioritised over Imran Tahir. Maybe they play him today, and he performs exceptionally well, and we all wonder what he’s been doing sitting in the dugout all this time. Yup, he could do a Lockie Ferguson. Same goes for Tahir though.
CSK’s Batting Worries
But CSK’s issue this season hasn’t really been their bowling, it’s been their batting. First Watson’s poor run of form, then all the middle order collapses, then the lower order foolery. In fact, Kedar Jadhav has bagged the first prize in this IPL’s ‘Make Yourself A Meme’ contest, with MSD securing the consolation prize.
To solve their batting woes, they’ve pushed Sam Curran up the order to open, and displaced Watson over to 3. While I do think it is a good idea to have a pinch hitter for CSK, I think Jadeja is the man for the job in this CSK side. Jadeja has been consistently putting in excellent cameos with the bat of 25-30 odd runs off just 12-13 balls. Plus, he is a leftie, so there’s your left hand-right hand combination all settled. It’s definitely worth a go.
Lower Order Troubles
As for the lower order, they’ve got to get rid of the Protea choker genes they seem to have inherited from Lungi Ngidi, and start afresh. Both Dhoni and Jadhav are world class players going through a horrible patch of form. Either that, or they’re actually finished now and CSK’s golden generation is over.
Rajasthan Royals Probable XI
- Jos Buttler*
- Robin Uthappa
- Sanju Samson
- Steve Smith*
- Ben Stokes*
- Riyan Parag
- Rahul Tewatia
- Jofra Archer*
- Shreyas Gopal
- Varun Aaron
- Kartik Tyagi
#NCBforRajasthanRoyals Needs To Get Trending On Twitter ASAP
NCB is planning a raid on the Rajasthan Royals dugout very soon. In just 9 games, they’ve already tried 5 different opening combinations! This has to be the most in IPL history! One of the openers is probably (you never know with this team) fixed now, and that is Robin Uthappa, because of his smashing knock of 41 against RCB. Who’s the second opener, that’s the question. In the previous games, they’ve backed Ben Stokes to open the innings. But this move is just not working. And to make room for Stokesy, they’ve pushed Buttler down the order! The world’s best T20 opener isn’t even opening anymore! I hope they see sense and finally settle on the opening combination of Buttler-Uthappa.
They also seem to have gotten No.3-No.4 sorted. Earlier, Steve Smith was coming in at 3 and walking back into the dugout less than an over later. This happened more than 5-6 times, and I’m glad they’ve finally made amends. In the last game, it was Sanju who came in at 3. Yes, he didn’t last long either, but at least Steve Smith played at his natural position and got a half-century.
Who can replace Lord Unadkat?
Alas, we reach the famed RR bowling. The lord and saviour Jaydev Unadkat spearheads this bowling lineup. No, of course not. After his performance last game, I’ll be surprised if he ever wears an RR jersey again. To replace him, RR has two options. Varun Aaron and Akash Singh. Akash Singh is a young talent from the India U-19 World Cup squad. In fact, Kartik Tyagi and him were India’s main pace duo for the tournament. RR could bring him in, and hope to replicate the U-19 magic. Or they could choose to go the Varun Aaron route and choose vast experience over a possible Cinderella story. I’m sure whoever gets the chance will do well. We might actually see Ankit Rajpoot and not either of those two. Whoever gets the go ahead, will at least do better than Unadkat, I’m sure of that.
Prediction – I’ve predicted an RR win every single time they’ve played, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do again. CSK is practically the easiest possible team we can even play, so if we can;t beat them then…
My Current Prediction Counter – 23-13