Having won just one of their five fixtures this season, the onus will be on Ajinkya Rahane’s Rajasthan to prove they can still challenge the best teams of the competition when they take on table-toppers, Chennai at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Thursday.
If history is anything to go by, Rajasthan are no match to MS Dhoni’s Chennai, who are three-time Indian T20 League winners. The two teams have clashed 20 times in the past and tonight’s visitors – Chennai – have won 13 of them. Rajasthan have managed mere seven victories over the years.
The fact that Rajasthan’s last victory over Chennai came at home – Jaipur – might give them a much-needed boost, to say the least.
Chennai, on the other hand, are coming on the back of an impressive seven-wicket victory over Kolkata and would love to carry on the momentum.
That being said, let’s have a look at the top picks from the fixture.
Batsman: Jos Buttler
Sajjad Hussain / AFP
With 176 runs from five fixtures, England batsman Jos Buttler remains Rajasthan’s highest-run scorer of the season. Playing with an average of 35.20 and a strike rate of 130.37, the Englishman has been the most picked batsman from the fixture.
To say Rajasthan’s batting order depends on Buttler for momentum would be an understatement to make. Of course, there’s Steve Smith who’s picking form of late, but his rather unhurried style of play this season makes him the second-best among the lot.
Bowler: Imran Tahir
Arun Sankar / AFP
With nine wickets in six games, Chennai spinner Imran Tahir has been a bowler to beat this season. Chennai’s bowling brilliance could be defined with the fact that four of the top five bowlers in the list of most maiden overs this season are theirs.
On a personal scale, Tahir has the second-best bowling economy this season, just behind his teammate Harbhajan Singh. He carries an economy of mere 5.36 from six games, while Harbhajan has registered a figure of 5.12 in four games. Expect him to pick some crucial wicket.
All-rounder: Ben Stokes
Sajjad Hussain / AFP
With no firm option available for the spot, Rajasthan’s Ben Stokes has been the most picked all-rounder from the game. He hasn’t been that prolific this season, but with Ben Stokes, you never know. Thus far, he has been largely unsuccessful with both bat and ball, managing just 76 runs and four wickets from five games.
Apart from that, a bowling economy of whopping 10.84 is doing no good to his reputation as well.