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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 11 May 2013 - 10:13pm IST

Preview : Match 61 – RR vs CSK

Can RR defend their fortress against CSK?

What

Match 61 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will see the Rajasthan Royals lock horns with two-time champions and table-toppers Chennai Super Kings. A win in this match will take CSK closer to a top two finish, while a RR victory will confirm their progress to the Pepsi IPL 2013 Play-Offs.

RR are a very difficult unit to beat at home – given they know the conditions well and know how to make the best of the conditions there. That apart, they come into this match with the confidence of having defeated Kings XI Punjab on the road. The Chennai Super Kings recovered from the 60-run defeat they received at the hands of Mumbai Indians and got the better of Sunrisers Hyderabad in their previous match.

When

Sunday, May 12, 2013, 8 p.m

Where

Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

The Protagonists

In terms of international match-winners, Rajasthan Royals have only one – Shane Watson. His inclusion in the XI certainly gives RR a settled look and runs from him almost always result in a victory. However the one player who has gone about his job without too much glamour or glitz and has had a massive influence on the team is Ajinkya Rahane. The 24-year old Rahane has now scored half-centuries in the last three matches and has been the team’s top-scorer in five of their 13 matches. Skipper Rahul Dravid, Stuart Binny and Sanju Vishwanadh too have played their part whenever they have been needed and will be expected to do so again. On the bowling front, Ajit Chandila has been outstanding – often giving his team a breakthrough in his first over, while James Faulkner – RR’s leading wicket-taker – will have an eye on the Purple Cap.

The two batsmen who have had a major influence on CSK’s fortunes are Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina. Numbers best illustrate the impact these players have on CSK’s wins; in 10 victories this season, the two left-handers have scored close to 60% of the runs scored by the team. MS Dhoni has been brilliant in calling the shots – not only on the field but also in deciding the batting order of the team. With the bat too, Dhoni has been in smashing form irrespective of which position he has batted at.

Previous Meetings

Rajasthan Royals got the better of the Chennai Super Kings in each of the three meetings between the two teams in the inaugural season of the IPL – including the title clash. However, since then CSK have had held their own – winning eight of the nine matches between the two teams.

Trivia

Suresh Raina has scored over 400 in each of the six IPL seasons so far. 2009 was his most-productive season; he scored 520 runs in 16 matches. He has so far scored 458 runs and has a chance to make it his best-ever IPL season.

CSK’s Albie Morkel has impressive numbers when playing against the Rajasthan Royals. In ten matches, he has scored 246 runs at an incredible strike-rate of 172.02 and has picked up 14 wickets.

Rajasthan Royals have been lucky with the coin in their matches against the Chennai Super Kings; they’ve won the toss in 9 of the 12 matches.

What Next

Rajasthan Royals head to Mumbai for their penultimate league fixture of the season. They are scheduled to take on Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on May 15. Chennai Super Kings meanwhile head back home to play their final home fixture of the season when they host the Delhi Daredevils on May 14.

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