2008 IPL champions Rajasthan Royals will face former winners Chennai Super Kings in game number four of IPL 2020 at Sharjah on Tuesday, September 22.
The Rajasthan Royals will be playing their first game of the IPL season. The Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, will go in having defeated favourites Mumbai Indians in their opening encounter with a rather professional show. They would certainly be high on confidence, especially after all the pre-tournament troubles they have faced.
The Rajasthan Royals did not have a great time in the IPL last year and finished seventh. They would, therefore, be raring to put up a better show this time around. They have been dealt with a big blow owing to the unavailability of Ben Stokes, at least for the first few games. Furthermore, his teammate Jos Buttler will also miss the first game as he would have to remain in quarantine as per the rules since he has come with his family.
As the two sides prepare for a thrilling encounter, here’s a look at three key player battles to keep an eye on.
IPL 2020: 3 key player battles in CSK vs RR
#1. Steve Smith vs Lungi Ngidi
In the absence of Buttler and Stokes, Royals skipper Steve Smith will have to take on additional responsibility. Smith is a fantastic batsman in all formats of the game, and the IPL is no different.
He has consistently done well in the tournament over the years -- 472 with three fifties in 2017 and 319 runs, again with three half-centuries, last year (He missed 2018 edition due to the ball-tampering ban). This season he will have to again come to the fore if Royals are to make an impression.
Smith’s battle with South African fast bowler Lungi Ngidi could be an interesting one. Extreme pace can trouble the best of batsmen, and Ngidi is definitely gifted in that department. He can clock up speeds in excess of 140. Ngidi would be confident after his three-wicket show against Mumbai Indians.
Smith has been troubled by England fast bowler Jofra Archer in the recent past. That should be on Ngidi’s mind as he runs in to bowl to Smith.
#2. Ambati Rayudu vs Shreyas Gopal
With every match-winning innings that Ambati Rayudu plays, Team India will be reminded of their ‘three-dimensional’ blunder while picking the 2019 World Cup squad.
34-year-old Rayudu played a mature hand in Chennai’s win over Mumbai, finding his groove en route to his 48-ball 71. Rayudu has settled in nicely as one of the key figures in Chennai’s batting line-up that features international veterans like Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis.
Batting in the middle order, Rayudu is most likely to face talented Royals leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal. It would be an interesting challenge for the former India batsman.
The leg-spinner had a wonderful 2019 season, claiming 20 wickets at a strike-rate of 14.40, which featured a hat-trick against Royal Challengers Bangalore. With his bag of tricks, Gopal troubled even legends like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Most definitely, he would be looking forward to taking on the likes of Rayudu.
#3. David Miller vs Piyush Chawla
An attacking batsman versus a leg-spinner often makes for an intriguing contest. And Rajasthan Royals’ David Miller is among the most aggressive batsmen on the T20 circuit. He first came to prominence when he hit a 38-ball hundred for Kings XI Punjab against RCB. Since, he has had an up and down journey. Miller resurrected himself to an extent last year, with 213 runs at a strike rate of nearly 130. Even if Miller spends only a couple of overs at the crease, he has the ability to swing the momentum of a game. Royals must thus maximise his potential.
Big-hitters like taking on leg-spinners. But, the contest is like a double-edged sword. While leg-spinners have a tendency to go for runs while seeking wickets, they can also make batsmen look embarrassingly bad if they get their line and length right.
Piyush Chawla is nothing short of an IPL veteran with 151 wickets in 158 matches at a strike rate of 20.84. He has performed against the best in the business and has made his mark with his guile. In the tournament opener against Mumbai, he was in top form, dismissing Rohit Sharma while conceding only 21. Chawla can trouble the likes of Miller, who will definitely look to take him on.
Also see:- IPL orange cap list 2020Published 22 Sep 2020, 08:08 IST