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Battle for the playoffs intensifies as Chennai take on Rajasthan

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Over 400 runs were scored the last Chennai squared off against Rajasthan in the Indian T20 League, and the fans will be hoping for more of the same when the teams cross paths once again at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday, October 19.

Rajasthan were scintillating with the bat the last time these two met, winning the game by 16 runs after captain Steve Smith and Sanju Samson had scored half-centuries. A lot has changed since as Rajasthan have welcomed Ben Stokes in the squad, while Chennai are experimenting with their batting order. As things stand, both teams are coming on the back of a defeat and have just six points after nine games.

That said, here are some key figures that you need to take note of before the game:

Rajasthan’s struggles in death overs:

Rajasthan dominated most part of their game against Bangalore on Saturday, but failure to contain AB de Villiers in the end eventually cost them the game. They, in fact, conceded 55 runs in the last 22 balls. Between overs 17-20, Steve Smith’s men have picked just 11 wickets, least by any side in the ongoing edition. Furthermore, an average and strike rate of 39.73 and 19.18 is the worst in the class too.

Teams in Death Overs in 2020

Wickets

Economy Rate

Average

Strike Rate

Delhi

20

9.40

17.10

10.60

Chennai

20

10.74

20.10

10.75

Punjab

16

13.61

22.81

9.81

Bangalore

16

11.02

25.44

13.38

Kolkata

12

10.61

26.33

14.42

Mumbai

12

10.64

26.42

14.75

Hyderabad

10

12.38

33.40

16.00

Rajasthan

11

12.14

39.73

19.18

Apart from Kartik Tyagi, all of their bowlers have been hit for over 11 runs per over at the death, highlighting a dire need of improvement in the contingent. Of all, a certain Jaydev Unadkat has been particularly expensive, going over 13 runs per over while picking just three wickets so far. 

Battle for the playoffs intensifies

Rajasthan and Chennai acquire seventh and eighth spot in the ranking respectively. While Rajasthan have been in the place before, it’s a new territory altogether for the three-time Indian T20 League winners. That defeat against Delhi means Chennai have now lost five games in the league for the first time since 2012. For Rajasthan, they have been at this end (losing five games in one season) in nine of their 11 campaigns.

With only five games to go before the league reaches playoffs, only one amongst the two teams can reach 16 points, meaning that the importance of this fixture is more than ever.

Players to watch:

Chennai - Ravindra Jadeja

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been fantastic for Chennai especially in the last couple of games. After what was a rather slow start to the 2020 campaign, the spinner has scored 136 runs in his last five games at a rate of 188.89. He has, in fact, scored second-most runs by a batsman batting in position 6-7 this season. But while he has been excellent with the bat, his bowling figures hasn’t oozed similar confidence, to say the least.

First 3 matches

Metrics

Last 5 matches

23

Runs

136

16

Balls

72

3

Boundaries

20

143.75

Strike Rate

188.89

Table: Ravindra Jadeja with the bat in Indian T20 League

The 31-year-old has picked just four wickets in eight games at an economy of 9.46. Against Rajasthan though, he will be riding on the fact that he has a fantastic record against them, especially against Robin Uthappa and Steve Smith, whom he has dismissed three and five times in the past respectively.

Rajasthan - Robin Uthappa

After a disappointing start to the new Indian T20 League season, Robin Uthappa has appeared to find his lost form. Against Bangalore, on Saturday, the former Kolkata batsman was sent as an opener alongside Stokes, and the pair went on to stitch their team’s first 50-run opening wicket stand of the ongoing season. And that certainly wasn’t it as he went on score a quickfire 41 off 22 balls, giving Rajasthan a perfect headstart in the powerplay overs.

Stats to watch out for:

200: Dhoni will become the first player in the Indian T20 League to play 200 matches.

2: 4s Faf du Plessis needs to reach 200 4s in the Indian T20 League.

6: Runs Dhoni needs to complete 4000 runs for Chennai in Indian T20 League, will become the 2nd player after Raina.

31: Runs Needed by Jadeja to reach 2500 T20 runs.

60: Unadkat’s average vs Chennai his worst against any team.

Writer's pick:

While Rajasthan, on paper, have a better set of players, one just cannot underestimate Chennai's credentials. The team has sure been on the losing side more often than not, but expect the three-time champions to exact revenge on Monday.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain

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