Chennai Super Kings are fresh off a massive win over Delhi Daredevils while the Rajasthan Royals recently lost to the same team. Chennai have some serious batting mojo, which will be a big test when they lock horns with the Royals in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Date: Wednesday, 23 April
Start time: 3:30 p.m. BST/6:30 p.m. local time
Live on: Sony Six, Star Sports HD, Star Sports 1 (India), ITV4 (United Kingdom), SuperSport (South Africa), OSN (UAE) SkyTV (New Zealand), Network Ten (Australia), Channel 9 (Bangladesh), Sportsnet and Omni(Canada), Sports Max (West Indies), Geo Super (Pakistan), Starhub(Singapore).
Weather: AccuWeather forecasts that it will be hot with temperatures getting up to 37 degrees celsius during the day, cooling to around 30 in the evening. It also forecasts that it will be less humid than it has been.
Not much is ever certain in the T20 format, but it's clear that Chennai pack a serious batting punch. They've played just two matches but managed over 200 and 177 in those two games respectively. Two players average over 40—Dwayne Smith and Suresh Raina—while Brendon McCullum has also contributed handsomely.
That's bad news for Rajasthan, whose bowling line-up has really struggled. Kane Richardson has been the most successful bowler with three wickets in two games at an average of 16.66. However, James Faulkner, a player who should be their frontline bowler, has been absolutely dreadful. Faulkner has taken just one wicket and conceded 72 runs.
Although their batsmen got off to a slow start, things were looking up in the Royals' second match. During their loss to Delhi, Shane Watson managed 50 while Sanju Samson chipped in with 52 and Steve Smith contributed with a brisk 27 off 15 lower down the order. It will now be up to these players to do that once more and click as a unit against a team who seemingly can't stop scoring runs.
Chennai's confidence will be high and their bowlers will have their tails up after skittling Delhi out for 84. Ben Hilfenhaus managed to swing the ball both ways and Ravi Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin were solid, turning the screws and building pressure. The victory over Delhi was their biggest win ever—by 93 runs to be precise—and also saw some stupendous fielding and catching, particularly from South African Faf du Plessis. Momentum goes a long way in cricket and CSK certainly have got a lot of it.
On the team news front, Dwayne Bravo has been ruled out of the competition due to a shoulder injury. He sustained it while trying to take a catch on the boundary against the Super Kings. However, if Monday's performance is anything to go by, he clearly won't be missed too much.
It should be an easy win for the Super Kings, unless the Rajasthan bowlers manage to summon one incredible performance. Expect a big total if CSK bat first and an early finish if they bat second.
Chennai Super Kings
Brendon McCullum is one of the most experienced T20 batsmen in the world and when he gets going, expect all sorts of chaos. After 67 against the Kings XI, he flopped against Delhi and was dismissed for just nine. McCullum rarely goes too long without success, though, and with Rajasthan's bowlers there for the taking, there's scope for fireworks.
Kane Richardson's bowling has been impressive, with figures of two for 25 and one for 25 in the two games he has played. Since bowling is their weak spot, Rajasthan will need him to fire against Chennai's big hitters.
Chennai Super Kings
MS Dhoni (c/wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Samuel Badree, Ben Hilfenhaus, Matt Henry, Baba Aparajith, Mithun Manhas, Ishwar Pandey, Pawan Negi, Vijay Shankar, Ronit More, John Hastings.
Brad Hodge, Unmukt Chand, Karun Nair, Ajinkya Rahane, Steven Smith, Rajat Bhatia, Abhishek Nayar, Ben Cutting, Kevon Cooper, Shane Watson (captain), Stuart Binny, James Faulkner, Dishant Yagnik, Ankush Bains, Sanju Samson, Iqbal Abdulla, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tewatia, Ankit Sharma, Pravin Tambe, Tim Southee, Dhawal Kulkarni, Kane Richardson, Vikramjeet Malik, Amit Mishra.