Rajasthan Royals (RR) will look to finish its group stage campaign with a victory over struggling Chennai Superkings (CSK), at Brabourne Stadium here on Friday. A win will assure RR, currently level with Royal Challengers Bangalore on 16 points, of a playoff spot.
A 24-run win over Lucknow Super Giants on Sunday was crucial to RR staying ahead of the curve. The team rode on handy knocks from Yashasvi Jaiswal, skipper Sanju Samson and Devdutt Padikkal, before left-arm pacer Trent Boult (two for 18) did the job with the ball.
Jos Buttler has been dismissed for single digit scores in the last two outings, but the English batter remains the highest run-scorer of the tournament by a fair distance. West Indian batter Shimron Hetmyer, who travelled to West Indies earlier this month for the birth of his child, is back with the team. Legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal (24 wickets) is well supported by Prasidh Krishna, Boult and the economical R. Ashwin.
CSK, on the other hand, is not in contention for a playoff spot. The side could use this game to give untested players a chance to shine. This approach worked in favour of speedster Matheesha Pathirana, who impressed in his IPL debut a few days ago. The Sri Lankan slinger, whose action resembles Lasith Malinga, even earned the praise of captain M.S. Dhoni.
CSK may have lost the match, but they did unearth a potential star. The unit will hope for more encouraging side notes on Friday.