The hallmark of a good side is that it is always able to overcome a bad start and push ahead to better things. It can also shrug aside the absence of a few individuals, no matter how important they may be, and create an environment where others can step in and perform well to make sure that the particular individual is not missed much. Chennai Super Kings had lost its first match to Kings XI Punjab but since then has been able to win its next two matches as it did against the Rajasthan Royals on April 23, 2014 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium with a narrow 7 run victory.
Team composition: Rajasthan made one change to the team that lost the previous match against Punjab. They brought in Tim Southee for Kane Richardson who was unwell. Chennai retained the team from the previous match.
Batting: Super Kings were put into bat by Royals and struggled to 140/6 in their allotted overs. Dwayne Smith, with a blistering 50 from 28 balls, was the main scorer for the team. However, Ravindra Jadeja, who scored 36 from 33 balls down the order, also played an important role and made sure that the Chennai side reached a defendable total after the team from Jaipur had reduced them to 74 for 5 in the 12th over.
Replying to the smallish total, Royals were unable to get any momentum going in order to get the elusive win. They came pretty close with 133 and were all out on the penultimate delivery of the match. Seam bowling allrounder Dhawal Kulkarni was the highest scorer with 28 from 19 balls down the order.
Bowling: During Chennai’s innings Rajat Bhatia (2 for 13) played a major role in choking the powerful batting line-up. Praveen Tambe (1 for 27) had a good match again. Binny (1 for 10) picked up a wicket in the only over he bowled but Faulkner (1 for 38 from 3) proved to be a disappointment. In the previous season his controlled bowling was a major reason for Rajasthan’s success but this season that control has proved to be elusive so far and that has caused the team a lot of problems.
In Rajasthan’s innings Jadeja played the role of the terminator with a superb spell of 4 for 33. He received good assistance from Ben Hilfenhaus (1 for 32), Ishwar Pandey (1 for 22), Ashwin (1 for 27 from 3.5), and Mohit Sharma (1 for 13 from 2).
Where do the teams go from here?
As has been stated before, Chennai Super Kings have found a decent rhythm and thanks to Dhoni’s consistent and unflustered leadership there is a good chance that such a trend will continue for some more days. As of now, the two areas of concern would be the inability of Faf du Plessis to score enough runs and Mohit Sharma to bowl as well as he can. However, the team has sufficient depth to cover up for these areas should the need arise.
Rajasthan Royals, like Sunrisers Hyderabad, have surprised many with their below par displays so far. First of all, Watson needs to realize that he should come up the order because that is where he has been able to express himself the best. The team management should also think of bringing in Unmukt Chand instead of Abhishek Nayar considering the fact that he is not bowling. Considering the relatively poor form of Faulkner so far, it would not be a bad idea to give either Ben Cutting or Kevon Cooper a game. The team would also do well to get back Brad Hodge instead of Steven Smith because of Hodge’s greater experience.
The situation is that as and when Watson is able to bowl his full quota of overs, these problems would be solved as then he would be able to play Hodge or Smith instead of Faulkner and yet not disturb the team’s balance. Till then, the management would need to take some tough decisions for the betterment of the team.