Chennai Super Kings, against the odds, came up trumps against defending champions Mumbai Indians in the opening match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 on September 19. Now, they will be up against another formidable opponents in Rajasthan Royals. The two teams clash at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. This will be the first time that fans will get to see Rajasthan Royals in action in IPL 2020, but some big names will be missing, giving the initiative to MS Dhoni’s CSK. Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith will be without the services of England duo Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes while CSK will be missing Dwayne Bravo.
Steve Smith: The Australian star, who missed the one-day series against England due to concussion, seems to have recovered and is expected to lead the Rajasthan Royals in their opening game of IPL 2020. Smith has been consistent performer in the IPL but has never set the stage alight.
He has scored a total of 2,022 runs in 81 matches at an average of 37.44. Last season, Smith played 12 matches scoring 319 runs at an average of 39.87. This year, the Australian will be hoping to improve that tally and take Rajasthan Royals to their second IPL title.
Sanju Samson: On his day, the stylish right-hander can be as destructive as any batsmen on the planet but the mercurial Sanju Samson needs to bring consistency into his game. The talent is undeniable, making him a hot property in the IPL but Rajasthan need him to come to the party more often.
The youngster from Kerala has been on the periphery of the Indian team, and with MS Dhoni gone, the time is right for Samson to really stake a claim and make that wicketkeeper-batsman position his own and what bigger stage than the IPL to get everyone’s attention.
Jofra Archer: The raw pace of the England star has been too hot to handle for many a big names and Jofra Archer reaches the UAE at the back of some impressive performances for his national team. Archer, though, has competition for his place with Andrew Tye and Tom Curran also in the mix and will need to hit the ground running to continuously be part of the team.
Last year, the England pacer played 11 matches taking 11 wickets at an economy rate of 6.76. Archer will look to better that tally this season.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
MS Dhoni: The former India captain pulled off another heist in the IPL 2020 opener by demoting himself down the order and promoting Sam Curran and Ravindra Jadeja when most thought the stage was set for the CSK skipper. The decision paid rich dividends and both players came up with crucial cameos in the chase.
While fans would have been unhappy at seeing Dhoni face just two balls, the win would have mattered more for CSK and their supporters. Dhoni was solid behind the stumps but it is yet unknown what sort of form he is in with the bat.
Ambati Rayudu: The diminutive right-hander played a starring role for CSK in the win over Mumbai Indians. He started off slow with CSK rebuilding following two early losses, but hit boundaries at will as the innings progressed. In the absence of Suresh Raina, the onus on Rayudu is more than ever before.
CSK will need Rayudu to continue to shine if they are to go far in the tournament.
Ravindra Jadeja: The Indian all-rounder looked good with both the bat and ball in CSK’s opening game. He batted positively, scoring 10 off five balls, but will need to make a bigger contribution more consistently.
Jadeja went for plenty with the ball but took two crucial wickets — albeit thanks to Faf du Plessis’ brilliance in the outfield. Jadeja will be hoping to improve on his performances against Rajasthan Royals, a team that he has played for in the past.
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