Three-time champion Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals would look to build on their first wins and gain momentum when they clash in the Indian Premier League (IPL), here on Monday.
The two sides bounced back after losing their opening fixtures with wins, albeit in contrasting styles.
While the MS Dhoni-led CSK had it easy against Punjab Kings, the Royals scraped through against Delhi Capitals in the final over. Both teams would be eyeing a second win to give their campaign a boost.
CSK hit back superbly after a chastening defeat to Capitals with Deepak Chahar putting his hand up with a four-wicket haul to break the back of the Punjab batting line-up, setting up a six-wicket victory.
Skipper Dhoni would have been happy with the bowlers’ performance after they had been taken to the cleaners by Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan in the opener.
Chahar, in particular, came up with a fine spell, which helped CSK restrict its opponent to a below par 106 which the batsmen chased down without much trouble.
The Super Kings will expect Chahar to continue the good work while also hoping that Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur and the others also step up.
Also, South African pacer Lungi Ngidi is out of quarantine and could be drafted into the playing XI to give more teeth to the CSK pace attack.
England all-rounder Moeen Ali was in the thick of action in the win over Punjab and that should please the CSK think-tank. He picked up a wicket with his off-spin and batted fluently.
Faf du Plessis made an unbeaten 36 despite not being at his fluent best and would hope to build on the knock while the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ambati Rayudu need runs to get their confidence back.
Suresh Raina’s presence has certainly boosted the CSK batting unit and his form will be crucial in the long run. He will be keen to get a big score after returning to the IPL with a fifty.
Dhoni didn’t bat in the game against Punjab after a duck in the opening match. It remains to be seen if the captain chooses to push himself up the order and gives himself the opportunity to find some form.
Meanwhile, Royals will be keen to build on the win over Capitals after a dramatic four-run loss to Punjab.
Skipper Sanju Samson hit a magnificent ton which almost single-handedly won the opener for them and his form along with that of Jos Buttler and David Miller will be crucial to their chances in the tournament.
Royals would like to see their batsmen fire in unison as the top-order collapsed against Delhi before Miller and Chris Morris pulled them past the line.
The experienced pacer Jaydev Unadkat underscored his value with a superb spell against Delhi while the young Chetan Sakariya has shown promise. The experience of Morris and Mustafizur Rahman could be crucial in tight situations.
The Royals bowlers would aim to strike early blows to stifle the CSK batting which has not been dominant while the batsmen need to step up in what promises to be an interesting battle between two sides led by wicket-keepers.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c & wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, R Sai Kishore, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujra, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishaanth.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c & wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra, Anuj Rawat, Riyan Parag, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, KC Cariappa, Liam Livingstone, Kuldip Yadav, Akash Singh.