Rajasthan v Chennai, IPL 2013, Jaipur May 11, 2013

Second spot in Rajasthan's sights

44

Match facts

May 12, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT

Big Picture

It's ironic that even at this stage, not even one of the four playoff berths have been confirmed. It's easy to think that Chennai Super Kings, table leaders since April 28, have already made it to the playoffs, but mathematically, they haven't. Victory against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday will confirm their position in the final four. After Jaipur, they head back home to face the easiest of their three opponents , Delhi Daredevils, before heading to Bangalore. Both their away games are against teams that haven't lost at home. The prospect of Super Kings getting eliminated is highly improbable, given their consistency. They had a rude wake-up call against Mumbai Indians, but the manner in which they overpowered Sunrisers Hyderabad - another team with an unbeaten home record till that night - showed that they hadn't hit a late-season slump.

Royals will be aware that if there's one team that can challenge their fortress, it's Super Kings. Royals' remaining opponents aren't the easiest - Super Kings, Mumbai Indians (away), Sunrisers (away). However, given their recent form, it's hard to bet against them from qualifying either. Their last three wins - consecutive - have come while chasing. They will also be aware that Super Kings posted 223 in their last match, so if they end up bowling first, their bowlers will have to be at their best. Royals are third with 18 points and their aim will be to knock Mumbai off the second position.

Form guide

Rajasthan Royals WWWLW
Chennai Super Kings WLWWW

Players to watch

M Vijay missed a few games due to injury, and though he failed in his comeback game against Mumbai, scoring 2, he found his touch against Sunrisers. Though he didn't score big - he scored 29 - his three consecutive sixes against Ishant Sharma, all stand-and-deliver shots, showed that he was getting his groove back.

The Royals top order has been in sparkling form of late, with the team losing just eight wickets in the last three games. Their top three - Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson - have aggregated 368 runs, with a total of five half-centuries. Super Kings' bowlers will be tested.

Stats and trivia

  • Super Kings have won two out of the three games they have played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium
  • MS Dhoni has effected nine stumpings off R Ashwin, the best wicketkeeper-bowler combination in the IPL

Quotes

"We need to bowl better in the death overs and giving away 87 runs in last five overs is not acceptable. We could not maintain the momentum in death overs. About 50-55 in last five is okay but not more than that."
Super Kings' fielding coach Steve Rixon

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • GRVJPR on May 12, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    As a citizen of jaipur I can tell you when there is a rain around here it's one of the most difficult pitch to bat in the country. CSK has no chance today. It's been raining, there will be plenty of movement and these flat wickets stars of CSK and MSD as a captain will be fully exposed. RR wins even before match begins.

  • dummy4fb on May 12, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    RR: 1. Dravid 2. Rahane 3. Sanju 4. Watson 5. Binny 6. Hodge 7. Baby 8. Faulkner 9. Harmeet 10. Sreesanth 11. Edwards.

    Powerplay overs: Edwards,Faulkner,Watson. Middle overs: Sree,Binny,Harmeet and Baby.

    Death overs: Edwards,Faulkner.

    Go RR...Halla Bol!

  • anton_ego on May 12, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    Probably the best match of the league stage. But as the law of averages tend to intervene, Royals must lose today. 5 half centuries means, Royals are bound to have an off day, except when Hodge gets a decent hit today. But as @cnksnk put, Jakati should get a game today since Royals are packed with right handers. Jaddu and Jakati could prove a good combination. But the pitch assists pacers more, so that will be a crucial decision for Dhoni. The contest am awaiting most is Vijay Vs Rahane. This could be the game for Rahane to give a slap on the selectors face if Viajy flops and Rahane succeeds.

  • dummy4fb on May 12, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    @ TeamRocker Both CSK (Hussey,Dhoni) and RR (Top3 batters) are as dependent on few players as other teams and which team has been ungraceful in defeat this IPL? Kindly point out. RR is not weak, its fans are flattering themselves by calling themselves underdogs.

  • Ali_86xz on May 12, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Two of the World's best legends. Two of the World's greatest cricketers. Two of the Cricket World's best and respected men - encounter tonight. That is of course - Sir Rahul Dravid and Sir MS Dhoni. They both are on the top of the Fair Play Award, and they both are on the top of the Points Table. This is going to be the the best encounter in the season of this IPL. It should be a tie!!!

  • dummy4fb on May 12, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    I'm Rooting for Chennai and trust me when CSK wins i go nuts.But this Match alone ,I don't care(Obviously because of Dravid).These 2 teams are to me the best teams when it comes to fair plays.It was not surprising either ,Overall IPL win% record CSK - 61% MI - 57% RR - 55%.But MI Don have title to show off.Its partly because RR and CSK By Far the Best Organised Teams in the IPL.All the best for both the teams,Looks like RR certainly have the edge but being a hardcore CSK fan would love them to beat RR and RCB in their home turf :D..

  • Trakkan on May 12, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    I find it funny to see some comments calling certain teams of having super stars and others having humble uncapped players. I think the purpose of Franchises is to get a good team and win IPL. If that means one has to get big stars along with good local players then the owners should try to do it. I don't see any point in gloating that their teams have a ordinary players but still are coming 3rd or 4th. Its like Reading telling Manu that your success in EPL is due to great players and too much money.

  • kartikeysoni on May 12, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    srinideva you need to retain only one (non) player. retain srini :-p and CSK will do fine

  • TeamRocker on May 12, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    These two teams, IMO, have been the best to watch in the tournament so far. Neither are completely dependent on one or two players, both play with immense spirit and accept defeat gracefully. In short, this game has all the ingredients for a thriller. If Binny is fit (and I hope he is), he should come in for Yagnik. Tambe in for Chandila. I don't think Chandila has it in him to keep Hussey, Vijay or Raina quiet at the top. Open the bowling with Sreesanth and Faulkner. Faulkner should bowl only one upfront (unless he gets a wicket), and should have at least two overs in the middle period. Binny and Watson can do the job with the new ball.

    Chennai need a few changes in their bowling order. Albie Morkel in for Holder. Maybe Hilfy for Morris, because the RR openers have struggled against accurate pacers at the top. Otherwise, they should just stick to their plans.

    I'm an RR supporter, but I don't mind who wins this one. Because both of them deserve it.

  • chandran1979 on May 12, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    CSK must try some wild cards against RR. They can use Kulasekara for holder. I highly doubt it though, due to politics, so it can be Jakathi. Morris is good at death so use him towards the end. If Kulasekara is not selected bring in F du Plesis as opener. Try Baba Aparajith for Ashwin.

    My team for Tomorrow is 1. F du Plesis/Murali Vijay. 2. Hussey. 3. Baba Aprajith, 4. Raina, 5. Dhoni, 6. Bravo, 7. Morris, 8.Sir J, 9. Kulasekara/Jakathi, 10. Morkel, 11. Mohit Sharma