Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals
Monday 19 April, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Super Kings need to tinker
The Super Kings’ six-wicket success over Punjab Kings gave them a boost after a comprehensive defeat in their first outing of the tournament against Delhi, but it hid a multitude of sins.
Chennai may pick the same XI, slowing their progress to selecting the right one. Or rather, the right combination. Sam Curran should be opening with Ruturaj Gaikwad to boost run rate in the first powerplay, dropping Faf Du Plessis. This allows Lungi Ngidi or Imran Tahir a spot.
Instead, Chennai will muddle on. It’s a shame because with that tweak they could well go close to a title.
Possible XI Gaikwad, Du Plessis, Moeen, Raina, Rayudu, Jadeja, Curran, Dhoni, Bravo, Thakur, Chahar,
With their campaign appearing to fall apart at the seams, Rajasthan Royals produced the shock of the tournament by downing second-jollies Delhi Capitals on what was supposed to be a road in Mumbai.
Without Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes sidelined for the whole competition and defeat by Punjab in game one, it was a remarkable turnaround. Particularly as they were in the mire at 42 for five in a chase of 148. David Miller, Chris Morris and Jaydev Unadkat (ball and bat) were the heroes.
Concerns about their batting remain, however. Miller is not Mr Reliable (no-one expects him to be) but there is a burden on Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson for runs.
Possible XI Buttler, Vohra, Samson, Dube, Miller, Parag, Tewatia, Morris, Unadkat, Sakariya, Mustafizur
What to make of this Mumbai pitch? Before Delhi were rolled by the Royals 170 or more had been busted eight times in ten. Another low-scoring match followed between Chennai and Punjab.
With both bowling attacks in action again that did the damage, going long of runs takes some nerve. Still, the trend, long-term, remains for bat to dominate ball and we shouldn’t overreact to a two-game sample.
If we go back a couple of years in all T20 at the venue, 10 of the last 17 have seen both teams score 170 or more and 11 of those first-innings has seen 170 breached.
We will keep our fingers crossed that the markets overreact. We’d be keen to take even money for both teams scoring 160 or more for example. We may even get the same for 160 or more in the first dig.
CSK can chase anything
Chennai are 1.8910/11 with Rajasthan 2.0621/20. If the latter settles at the 2.1011/10 mark we’ll probably play. But with a caveat. We don’t want the Royals defending - it is by far their weakest suit.
Royals, despite their issues, are not worried about a chase. They attacked Punjab with gusto and probably should have got home. We may get a much better price at the break.
The Super Kings have, in the past, been chasers supreme. And we’d be on them at big numbers to get pretty much anything Royals post because we have concerns about their ability to keep it tight.
Lungi Ngidi is not expected to play but we have to advise the 10/3 about him picking up top bowler for CSK. We repeat: he has the best strike rate of any bowler in their ranks and should be favourite.
We should keep faith with Riyan Parag at Rahul Tewatia at 11/1 and 25/1 respectively for top Royals bat. Both are a little toppy on wins rates. Buttler is too skinny at 21/10 for our liking.
There’s a smidge of value on Sam Curran at 14s for top CSK bat, too. He should be about 10s in our book. By the same token, Ravi Jadeja is overpriced at 20/1.