Rajasthan boast of incredible power-hitters. Their captain Sanju Samson himself can produce breathtaking innings. Jos Butler has an average of 40 and a strike rate of over 150 as an opener in the India T20 League. And David Miller seems to have found his lost mojo.
Chennai, on the other hand, bat so deep that DJ Bravo comes at No. 9. They promoted Sam Curran from No. 8 to 6 in the previous match. But that’s that. They cannot match Rajasthan’s flamboyance. Suresh Raina is back in full swing, but he is yet to play his natural innings—something like his 25-ball 87 at the Wankhede Stadium in 2014. Meanwhile, Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu seem like the responsible warhorses. The only batsman who has batted with no fear and inhibition is Moeen Ali.
If anything, it will be Rajasthan’s fearless and stylish brand of cricket against Chennai’s experience and depth.
Ruturaj Gaikwad perished to a good delivery in the first match. In the second contest, however, he looked uncomfortable at the crease. Perhaps the pressure of providing starts is getting to him, but his lack of confidence can only affect the team negatively. Make no mistake that he batted brilliantly in the last few matches of the previous season and that he is a skilful player. His likely replacement will be Robin Uthappa, who scored the bulk of the runs for Kolkata when they won the title in 2012 and 2014.
Lungi Ngidi will be available for selection and might replace DJ Bravo, although it depends on Chennai’s strategies. While Ngidi is a strike bowler, MS Dhoni has been using Bravo effectively only at the death. In addition, Bravo is less likely to provide them any impetus with the bat.
Chennai: Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad/Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Sam Curran, MS Dhoni (c & wk), , Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo/Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar
Rajasthan finally got their combinations right and need not make any changes, unless there is an injury.
Rajasthan: Jos Buttler, Manan Vohra, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Shivam Dube, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on recent performances, impact, and credit points.
The pitch at the Wankhede Stadium is still a delight to bat on, especially in the second innings. Delhi have managed to chase down massive targets of 189 and 196. That being said, the pitch does have enough for the pacers. Jaydev Unadkat mixed up his swinging deliveries with wily off-cutters and was rewarded with figures of 3 for 15, while Deepak Chahar took a four-wicket haul with his sharp bowling.
The dew has been making bowlers’ lives difficult in the second innings, and the barrage of full-tosses has been a result of that. If anything, the captain winning the toss will be ahead in the race already. There is no point losing heart, though. Punjab managed to win a game batting first, but they had to smash as many as 221 runs. While Rajasthan have attacking batsmen, Chennai can afford to take risks given their depth. To put things into perspective, the batsmen will have to go bonkers.