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The Preview by Sidharth Monga
May 8, 2009
Match factsMay 9, 2009
The last time this rematch of last year's final happened, both the teams were languishing in middle-and-lower part of the points table. Things have changed since then. Chennai Super Kings have won four on the trot, including that rematch. Rajasthan Royals have come back from that defeat with three straight victories, and now both teams are the joint leaders.
Given the tight nature of the event, we will surely have a new leader by the time Chennai and Rajasthan face each other again tomorrow, the second game of the day. Then again we might not if Delhi Daredevils and Deccan Chargers both lose their matches. But what's certain is that both Chennai and Rajasthan will be in the top four. What's also certain is - more importantly - that by the end of tomorrow, the teams closest to them will have matches in hand. In that light, it's needless to say how important two points will be for both the teams.
Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)Chennai: WWWWL
In two matches Amit Singh has taken seven wickets at four runs per wicket and has given away runs at 3.5 an over. But as with Rajasthan's earlier prodigy Kamran Khan, Amit's action is also under suspicion.
Watch out forMurali v Yusuf: Like Warne v Hayden, this one is a crucial sub-plot to this drama. Main batsman v main spinner, that's where the difference could lie.
Team newsChennai, despite their winning streak, have two missing links in their piece: the opening pace bowler (Manpreet Gony is not fitting that role) and the opener along with Hayden (S Badrinath was tried last game, and scored a golden duck). But the bright side is that ever since Badrinath has moved up the order - and has thus got a few balls to play himself in - he has played an important anchor role in the middle order.
Chennai: (probable) 1 S Badrinath/M Vijay/Parthiv Patel, 2 Matthew Hayden, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), 5 Albie Morkel, 6 Jacob Oram/George Bailey, 7 Shadab Jakati, 8 Sudeep Tyagi, 9 L Balaji, 10 Manpreet Gony/Joginder Sharma/extra batsman, 11 Muttiah Muralitharan.
It's unlikely Rajasthan will drop Amit. Lee Carseldine, Naman Ojha and Abhishek Raut have been good additions late in the season. It should be touch and go between Morne Morkel, who got his first game when he played against Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Dimitri Mascarenhas.
Rajasthan: (probable) 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Naman Ojha (wk), 3 Lee Carseldine, 4 Yusuf Pathan, 5 Ravindra Jadeja, 6 Niraj Patel, 7 Abhishek Raut, 8 Shane Warne (capt.), 9 Dimitri Mascarenhas/Morne Morkel, 10 Amit Singh, 11 Munaf Patel.
Stats and trivia
The BCCI set up a three-man committee to tackle the problem of chucking at age-group and domestic cricket, and it has produced significant results in five years
The board's latest standoff with its players has had embarrassing consequences internationally, so any resolution now needs to be approached thoughtfully
What Australia have not done since returning a fractured unit from India is head back to Asia to play an Asian team. Two of their major weaknesses - handling spin and reverse swing - will be tested in the UAE by Pakistan
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala
The WICB statement should cool down emotions and allow all parties involved to take the next step forward
Players demanding that home pitches should be prepared to favour them don't realise it's a retaliatory business
ESPNcricinfo runs the rule over the preparation of all 16 Australia players ahead of the first Test, which starts in Dubai on Wednesday