It is that point of the season when teams from the same group tussle for revenge or look for a double. Rajasthan Royals beat Chennai Super Kings in their backyard (Chennai) and in the process, they became the only team to achieve the feat this season against Chennai.
With that, Rajasthan can now do a double over Chennai. If they win this, it will be Rajasthan's third season after 2008 (3) and 2020. In the IPL since 2020, Rajasthan have a significant advantage over Chennai. In six matches, only once have they lost a game. In this period, only against Gujarat Titans, Chennai have a poor record, as they are yet to win a game (three Matches).
However, for that to happen, Rajasthan must wake up from their slumber. After three wins on the bounce, they have suffered two demoralizing losses.
Chennai might have a poor record against Rajasthan, of late, but with their form, it will be challenging for the home team. Is there anything that has not worked for Chennai? Absolutely No. The youngsters, the veterans, and the uncapped players are all stepping up to the cause.
Things to watch out for
Rajasthan's massive dip in the powerplay
Rajasthan were impeccable in the powerplay with the bat in their first four matches. They had scored at a run rate of 11.1, and a boundary was hit every 3.0 balls (4s/6s - 41/7). Each of the Rajasthan batters had a strike rate above 150.
In any case, in the last three games, there has been a massive drop. From 11.1, their run rate has dropped to 6.7, a substantial decline. The biggest reason behind that has been the increase in dot balls. In the first four games, they had played only 37.5% of dot balls compared to 60.1% in the last three.
Jos Buttler, one of their prime batter, has struck at 57.7 in 26 balls in the last three games with two dismissals (7.5). He averaged 57 and had a strike rate of 196.6 in the first four matches.
Pathirana's inclusion is doing wonders for Chennai
Even before the inclusion of Matheesha Pathirana, Chennai were winning games. But there was a void in the bowling department, especially in the last five overs.
In the four games, Chennai played without Pathirana, their pacers leaked runs at an economy of 10.5. Tushar Deshpande was going at 12.2, Dwaine Pretorius had an economy of 9.5, and Deepak Chahar conceded 11 runs/over.
However, since his inclusion, Chennai's pacers have conceded at 8.9. The slingy-actioned Sri Lankan pacer has bowled seven overs during this phase conceding only 6.1 runs per over. His economy is the best among quicks, with five-plus overs in this stage. All his four wickets this season have come in the last five overs of the innings.
A contest between two feisty spin units
Ravindra Jadeja, Maheesh Theekshana, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Yuzvendra Chahal. Four world-class spinners in one match. How often do we see that?
These two teams have been one of the best spin units in this IPL. Rajasthan spinners have picked 23 wickets, and 24 by Chennai. Rajasthan's spinners have bagged a wicket every 17 balls and have an economy of 7.8. On the other hand, Chennai's spinners have had a better strike rate (15.5) but a slightly higher economy (8).
Gujarat spinners have bagged a wicket every 14.1 balls, the best. Chennai (15.5) and Rajasthan (17) are behind them this season.
The Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur, has hosted only one match in this IPL. In that lone match, it was a low-scoring encounter. Despite chasing teams having the advantage (IPL since 2019), Lucknow Super Giants defended 154 against the home team.
In that solitary game, the pacers held the upper hand. They bagged 80% of the wickets at a balls/wicket ratio of 19.5 and an economy of 7.1. The spinners had only two wickets at a strike rate of 42 and an economy of 7.4.
In the IPL since 2019, teams chasing have won six out of the eight matches. That is why teams have chosen to field first in all eight games. Out of those eight, teams have won the match six times, a win percentage of 75%. Among venues where five-plus matches are witnessed, Sawai Mansingh has the best toss-win-match-win rate.
-In this IPL, Ajinkya Rahane has been unstoppable. He has scored 209 runs at a strike rate of 199.9, the best among batters with 100+ runs. However, he will be up against a team with bowlers who have troubled him. In the IPL, Rahane has five dismissals against Ashwin at an average of 8.2 and three each against Trent Boult (11.7) and Chahal (14.3).
-In the upcoming match against Chennai, Chahal will be up against Shivam Dube. The left-handed dasher has scored at a strike rate of 179.2 against leggies.
But, he has a particular weakness, and Chahal needs to exploit it. In this IPL, Dube has struck at 250 against right-arm wrist spinners when bowled on stumps. Then the strike rate spikes to 342.9 when they bowl just outside off. However, when bowled wide outside off, he has a strike rate of 37.5. That has to be the line that Chahal needs to follow.
-In this IPL, Jos Buttler has an average of 23 and a strike rate of 138 against pacers, with six dismissals. Five of those six have been to deliveries that have moved into him (Inswing and seamed in). He averages 11.8 against this delivery type.
It was a slow pitch in the first game at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. If that is the case again, then there is a chance for Adam Zampa to replace Jason Holder. There is another possibility as well. If Rajasthan plays with Murugan Ashwin, they can snub out Holder and Zampa and play Joe Root.
Probable XI: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Devdutt Padikkal, Joe Root/Jason Holder/Adam Zampa, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Murugan Ashwin, Trent Boult, Sandeep Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal
Impact sub probability: Dhruv Jurel for Yuzvendra Chahal
Chennai or a winning streak, and their playing XI is sorted for the season. They are highly unlikely to make any changes to their XI.
Probable XI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Ajinkya Rahane, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Matheesha Pathirana, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana
Impact sub probability: Akash Singh for Ambati Rayudu