End of the road for one and a ray of hope for another team
Another batting performance that completely lacked any intent from the Chennai Superkings resulted in yet another one sided game, despite the initial bowling burst from the CSK pacers picking 3 wickets in the first 5 overs. But a Buttler’s brilliance coupled with the calm of Steve Smith ensured a 7 wicket win for the Royals with 15 balls to spare.
1. The batting woes continue
Electing to bat first for the second time this season, CSK continued with the change at the top of the order by sending Sam Curran to open alongside Faf Duplessis. Although CSK both their inform players in Faf and Watson cheaply, the powerplay wasn’t all that bad in terms of scoring rate, with run rate above 7. It was again the middle overs agony for CSK, this time with different players MS and Jaddu. They were ridiculously slow in their batting even considering that the pitch was holding up and turning, and the fact that both Dhoni and Jadeja aren’t that comfortable against leg spin. They scored just 57 runs of the 11 overs between 7 and 17th, the lowest in this year’s IPL.
But this time there was no flurry even at the death overs, and CSK ended up with a meagre score of 125 in their 20 overs, which was well below par for this pitch.
2. Buttler the finisher
Rajasthan have tinkered a lot with their batting line up this season, with Stokes opening with Uthappa, and Buttler, who was prolific for them at the top being pushed down to the role of a finisher. In this match though, Rajasthan were in big trouble when Buttler came in the 5th over, having lost 3 wickets for just 20 odd runs.
What followed a masterful innings from the Englishman, who along with his captain Steve Smith steadied the ship and ensured that RR crossed the line easily without any further hurdles. Buttler scored a brilliant 70 of 48 balls and made sure to take his team home, and rightly won the man of the match award for his heroics, and RR finally seem to be getting hang of their batting order, and would greatly benefit if Buttler continues his form.
3. Hope for Rajasthan
With this victory over CSK, Rajasthan have very much kept their playoffs hopes alive. There seems to be a clear divide opening up in the points table between the top 4 and the bottom 4 teams, but still RR feel they have more than good chance to qualify if they keep their current form going. RR would like to put in a more combined team effort, as it has been flashes of individual brilliance that have won their games this season.
Looking ahead, they have matches against SRH, MI, KXIP and KKR to follow, and if things go according to plan, the last match of the tournament between Rajasthan and Kolkata could be a virtual knock out game for sealing the playoffs spot.
4. Is it the end of an Era
One of the most successful teams in the history of IPL and the most consistent team without a doubt, having reached the Playoffs in every season till now, that rich history seems to be coming to an end for CSK and their fans this season.
This was seen coming from many people after Chennai picked an aging and spin heavy side in the initial auction after coming back. But they performed extremely well in the last two years, but that seems to be coming to an end. As Dhoni himself admitted, CSK are not playing the brand of cricket that they are used to, and there is a clear lack of intent and enthusiasm in the middle and not helped by unavailability of Rainia and Harbajan.
This could be the last IPL for many of their players, including Thala, Watson, Bajji, Tahir and others. Although there is a mathematical chance for CSK to qualify, it seems highly unlikely that CSK would make it through this year, and should rather focus on giving more chances to the youngsters in the remaining games, to give them more exposure and build a team for the future