Abu Dhabi: Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals sail in the same boat and close horns in the Indian Premier League here on Monday, knowing that a little more slip could harm their hopes of the play-off match.
Both CSK and RR have so far not lived up to expectations and are sixth and seventh on the points ladder in the eight-team competition. The two struggling teams have six points from nine games, but the defending champion is above the net run rate.
With only five games left for both teams, the road ahead will definitely be a tough and difficult game, and they know they can no longer afford decayed from this.
Both teams lost their respective matches on Saturday. While Mahendra Singh Dhoni leader lost by five wickets against the tops of Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals were defeated by seven wickets by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The blow for CSK is bigger because their influential versatile player, Dwayne Bravo, has been ruled out for at least a few days due to a groin injury. After bringing their campaign to life with a win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, thanks to Dhoni’s clever captaincy, CSK were beaten by sloppy fielding and Shikhar Dhawan’s brilliant 101-run as they chased a competitive 180-run target.
Dhawan, who has fallen a few times, hit his first IPL century, while Axar Patel struck out three sixes in the final bowled by Ravindra Jadeja to give CSK their sixth loss. It was a nightmare outing for CSK fielders when they dropped Dhawan at 25 and 79, except they could not score a half chance and a run-out chance, and Dhoni would definitely seek improvement in the department.
“Shikhar’s wicket was important, but we dropped him quite a few times. If he keeps batting, he will keep the strike rate high. “The wicket also played better in the second half, but we can not take away the honor from Shikhar,” said Dhoni after the last match.
RR also finds themselves in a very difficult situation and urgently needs to investigate ways to close games. One good thing for RR is the return to form of their captain, Steve Smith, who made 57 on Saturday, but the versatile star Ben Stokes still has to fly loose after joining the team late.
Jos Buttler was not consistent enough with the bat. Sanju Samson was subject to his early exploitation, while Robin Uthappa apparently found a form at the top and scored 41 off 22 balls against RCB. The bowling attack led by Jofra Archer just seemed like the shocking RCB batsmen.