The Rajasthan Royals (RR) and the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) kicked off their respective IPL 2020 campaigns in style. While CSK beat the Mumbai Indians in the first match of the tournament, the Royals beat MS Dhoni’s men in their first game of IPL 2020.
While those were happier times for these two teams, today’s game pits seventh versus eighth in a bottom-of-the-table clash. A win for either, however, will see them leapfrog the likes of the Kings XI Punjab and the Sunrisers Hyderabad to fifth place.
After facing each other thrice in the first season, with RR winning the all-important final, CSK have gone on to hold a 14-8 head-to-head record over the Royals in the seasons that followed. The Jaipur-based franchise ran out winners by 16 runs when these two teams faced off at Sharjah earlier in the season.
When MS Dhoni and Steve Smith lead their teams out into the middle later in the day, both captains will have only one thing in mind - victory. With the top 4 slowly pulling away from the bottom half of the table, a win would do both teams a world of good if they are to indeed keep pace with the top half, and look to sneak a fourth-place finish come the end of the league phase.
With the kind of quality that both teams have to offer, the CSK v RR game itself promises to be a thriller. The points at stake mean a lot more today, given that a victory would take either team to within touching distance of fourth-placed KKR.
IPL 2020: CSK v RR Match Prediction
25-year-old Sanju Samson got off to an explosive start when these two teams faced off the last time around. His 74 off just 32 balls was enough for RR to pocket the two points. Another match-winning half-century in their next game, and it looked like Samson was all set for a breakthrough IPL season.
The Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman’s form has petered out since, with only 77 runs coming in the next 7 innings. While Samson would want to play himself back into form, another South Indian wicketkeeper-batsman will be hoping to make the most of his newfound touch.
The beneficiary of a batting order rejig, Robin Uthappa scored a 22-ball 41 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore after being asked to open the batting for the first time this season. The right-handed batter will be hoping to continue turning back the clock in a bid to give his team the start they need in a fixture like this.
On the bowling front, the RR faithful will be praying for more of the same from one of the best in the world at what he does - Jofra Archer. The 25-year-old Englishman is currently fifth on the Purple Cap list with 12 wickets to his name, and adding a few more to that number will be crucial for the Royals tonight.
Moving on to their opponents for tonight, a lot has been spoken about CSK’s intent this time around. With their batsmen being deemed too defensive to win a T20 game, the Super Kings seemed to pay the price by winning only two of their first seven fixtures.
That narrative has been turned around, and quickly too. Skipper MS Dhoni signalled the change in intent from the squad when he sent out young Sam Curran to open the batting against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The eagerness to attack seems to have spread like wildfire amongst the CSK unit as well, with the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Dhoni himself looking to tonk the ball from the word go if they come in to bat only in the latter stages of the innings.
Even Ambati Rayudu scored a quickfire 25-ball 45 and let the world know that this indeed was a different CSK from the one we had gotten used to in the first half of the season. More of the same from the team, and fans could be in for a treat.
With the change in approach visibly benefitting the Super Kings, one could expect CSK to come away with the win at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium tonight.
Prediction: CSK to win tonight’s match.
Published 19 Oct 2020, 11:52 IST