Chennai and Rajasthan will look to continue their winning momentum when they clash in the Indian T20 League at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Monday, April 18.
Both the sides bounced back after losing their opening fixtures with wins, albeit in contrasting styles. While Chennai thrashed Punjab by six wickets on Friday, Rajasthan defeated Delhi in a low-scoring thriller a day before.
Victory for either MS Dhoni-led Chennai or Sanju Samson’s Rajasthan will give their campaigns a boost.
Chennai vs Rajasthan full squads
Chennai: MS Dhoni (captain/wicket-keeper), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan (wicket-keeper), Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, Josh Hazlewood, R Sai Kishore, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagath Varma, Hari Nishanth
Rajasthan: Sanju Samson (captain/wicket-keeper), Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Ben Stokes, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra, Anuj Rawat, Riyan Parag, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Jofra Archer, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, KC Cariappa, Liam Livingstone, Kuldip Yadav, Akash Singh
Chennai vs Rajasthan probable XI
Chennai will be a little bit concerned with the form of opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has scored just 10 runs in the first two matches of the season. The MS Dhoni-led side has always given a long rope to players even when going through a rough phase. However, the franchise might consider bringing in experienced Robin Uthappa in the playing XI in place of Gaikwad.
Furthermore, Chennai have received a massive boost as their South Africa pacer Lungi Ngidi has completed his mandatory seven-day quarantine and will be available for selection.
Chennai predicted XI: Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad/Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (captain/wicket-keeper), Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo/Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur
On the other hand, Rajasthan performed exceptionally well in the absence of their star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has returned to England after sustaining a finger injury.
The franchise may consider making few changes to their side against Chennai. Their all-rounder Shivam Dube had another poor outing against Delhi, and he may get replaced by Shreyas Gopal in the playing XI.
Rajasthan might also bring back young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal in place of Manan Vohra.
Rajasthan predicted XI: Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Manan Vohra/Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (captain), David Miller, Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube/Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman
Chennai vs Rajasthan head-to-head record in Indian T20 League
Three-time Indian T20 League champions Chennai have a clear edge over Rajasthan in the head-to-head record. The two teams have faced each other 23 times in the high-profile league, with Chennai winning 14 while losing nine.
At the Wankhede Stadium, both Chennai and Rajasthan have won 50 percent of their matches. While MS Dhoni-led Chennai have won eight of the 16 games played at this venue, Rajasthan have registered five victories in 10 encounters.
Chennai vs Rajasthan match prediction: Who will win?
While both Chennai and Rajasthan are well-matched on paper, Chennai will hold the edge in the crucial clash, owing to their experience.
Furthermore, captain MS Dhoni has a tremendous Indian T20 League record against Rajasthan.
Best performers in Chennai vs Rajasthan
Top tip: Best batsmen
Chennai batsman Suresh Raina is tipped to score the maximum runs for his side against Rajasthan. Raina has a decent record against the Rajasthan franchise, amassing 609 runs in 21 matches with four fifties. The 34-year-old southpaw is the second-highest run-getter in the history of the Indian T20 League. He has scored 5430 runs in 195 games and is only behind Bangalore captain Virat Kohli.
In the case of Rajasthan, opener Jos Buttler is the ideal candidate to be the leading run-scorer in the latest Punjab vs Chennai showdown. The 30-year-old has scored 216 runs in 5 matches against Chennai, at a staggering average of 72 with two fifties to his name.
Top tip: Best bowlers
Ravindra Jadeja is favoured to be the wrecker-in-chief for Chennai against Rajasthan. Jadeja has 16 wickets in as many matches against Rajasthan and is keen to consolidate his 114 wickets in 186 games in the Indian T20 League. He is an asset for any side.
For Rajasthan, Jaydev Unadkat will be the bowler to watch out for against Chennai at the Wankhede. The 29-year-old silenced his critics as he picked up three wickets by conceding only 15 runs against Bangalore.
Top tip: All-rounders and wicket-keepers
Chennai possesses several top all-rounders in their line-up, namely Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo and Moeen Ali. However, England’s Moeen Ali would be the preferred choice for the all-rounder spot due to his match-winning capabilities. Moeen has already scored 82 runs in two matches and also picked up a valuable wicket last game.
On the other hand, Chris Morris just showed why Rajasthan paid a hefty price for him by playing a blitzkrieg innings of 36 from 18 deliveries in the last game. He also picked up a wicket by conceding only 27 runs.
For the wicket-keeper position, MS Dhoni will be the preferred choice over Sanju Samson. Dhoni has taken 113 catches and completed 39 stumpings in the Indian T20 League history. He is the first wicket-keeper in the history of the T20 tournament to reach 150 dismissals.
Featured photo: IPL/BCCI