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The Preview by Kanishkaa Balachandran
April 2, 2010
Match factsApril 3, 2010
Big pictureThere isn't much to separate Rajasthan Royals from Chennai Super Kings in terms of points. Rajasthan have the upper hand thanks to four consecutive victories but they slipped badly against Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday, just showing how unpredictable they are. They are up against a team which heaved a huge sigh of relief after gaining a much-needed win, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, to take the first step in fighting for a spot in the final four.
A sell-out crowd is expected to witness the 2008 finalists go head-to-head for the second time in the tournament. Chennai still have a long way to go, as they need at least four more victories to the three already have to stand a realistic chance of qualifying. The great news for them is that their two Australian imports - Michael Hussey and Doug Bollinger - are finally here. It only remains to be seen if Chennai can fit both into the line-up. The sooner Bollinger can acclimatise, the better for Chennai because they desperately need him for his pace and wicket-taking abilities. He's coming off a great summer with Australia and Chennai will be glad to have him on board.
Rajasthan's latest defeat prompted an unwelcome remark from the Delhi captain, Gautam Gambhir, about them being "ordinary" and increasingly reliant on Yusuf Pathan. But that remark may just spur them to deliver their best in the forthcoming games.
Form guide (most recent first)Chennai Super Kings WLLLL
Team talkHussey didn't show any signs of jet lag after arriving from New Zealand as he battled the radical weather change and hit the nets. Whether he plays or not hasn't been decided. If both Hussey and Bollinger play, then Albie Morkel and Thilan Thushara will have to sit out.
The Rajasthan players had a two-hour training session at the stadium but didn't reveal any details of their team composition. Their star overseas pick, Shane Watson, too arrived from New Zealand and he sweated it out in the nets. If he plays, then Michael Lumb may have to sit out.
Previously…Rajasthan 3 Chennai 2
A Naman Ojha special in Ahmedabad helped Rajasthan to 177 but Chennai fell 17 short the last they met in the tournament. A last-ditch effort from Morkel gave Chennai hope but it was too late in the day.
In the spotlightIt's quite inexplicable why Manpreet Gony is a shadow of the bowler he was back in 2008. An economy rate of 11.50 after three games, a bad shot against Punjab and a dropped catch against Bangalore all indicate that the three departments of the game have let him down. With Joginder Sharma and Sudeep Tyagi not at their best either, L Balaji is the most logical replacement for Gony.
Siddarth Trivedi: He has just three wickets from six games, but the Gujarat medium pacer is turning out to be a useful defensive option, a bowler who can keep the runs down. In the last game against Chennai, he conceded just 18 off four overs, and his spell was vital in not allowing Chennai an opening to cut loose.
The chatter"The race for the four berths is close. Though we have lost five matches, it is not end of the world for us. We can turn it around."
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at CricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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