Having already qualified for the playoffs, table-toppers Chennai Super Kings will be taking on a struggling Rajasthan Royals – who are placed seventh – in a group league match in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Against a high-flying side, Royals are a stark contrast. Having suffered regular defeats, the Sanju Samson-led side are almost on their way out of the tournament, and only a miracle can salvage their campaign.
With eight points from 11 matches, it is a make-or-break outing for Royals. A loss on Wednesday against RCB will put them in a tight situation in their bid for a last-four berth. Although Samson claimed that the morale in the team is high despite the crushing loss by the bottom-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad early, pressure is gradually mounting on the team.
On the other hand, Chennai Super Kings, after their six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday, sailed into the playoffs with 18 points.
The key for Chennai will again be the experience of knowing when to seize the crucial moments. The likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni are all capable of rescuing a game with the bat in the middle order. Their top three batters also look a solid unit.
After an unimpressive outing against Mumbai Indians, CSK batters lifted their game with Du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Raina and Dhoni all getting starts. But it is the performance of the bowling unit which has been exemplary.
Dwayne Bravo (3/24) was brilliant with the ball against RCB, while Shardul Thakur (2/29) and Deepak Chahar (1/35) provided good support to the West Indian.
Bravo’s spell changed the dynamics of the game and he will be charged up to do the job for his team in upcoming games as well. Also, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis are looking in good form.