The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi will host Match 37 of the Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 when Chennai Super Kings (CSK) face Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Monday.
Both the teams have three wins against their name from nine matches and currently in the bottom half of the points table.
The last time these two sides squared off in IPL 2020, RR, kickstarting their campaign, had beaten CSK by 16 runs in Sharjah on the back of Sanju Samson's whirlwind 74 and Steve Smith's 47-ball 69. While RR will once target a win over CSK to revive their season, CSK will be out to settle the score and keep their hopes of reaching the playoffs alive.
Both CSK and RR began with what they'll look back and view as false dawns. RR flew off the blocks with two big wins in Sharjah, and CSK started off with a statement victory over holders Mumbai Indians. But since then, combinations haven't worked, intent has been missing at times and they've lost games that they should've closed out. They've both had few too many loose ends that haven't been tied up. Both their form guides are indicative of their biggest bugbears this season - the inability to find continuity with results.
Ahead of Monday's game too, there are prickly hurdles they need to jump past. Just when CSK worked their way through to their most balanced line-up, they've run into another roadblock - of replacing Dwayne Bravo's death-overs owing to the West Indian's injury.
For RR, their top-three has run into different problems each time since the first two wins. Robin Uthappa's success at the top - the only bright spot in the loss to RCB - should bring some reassurance about a better start going forward, but RR will hope that, that wasn't just a flash in the pan for the former KKR opener who endured one of his worst seasons in 2019 too.
Despite their mediocre run up to this point, both CSK and RR haven't been mathematically ruled out of playoff contention yet. The chance to climb up from the lower-half of the table should be motivation enough, but Monday's game comes with an added advantage of it being a four-pointer.
Whoever will lose today's game will almost be out of the IPL 2020 play-off race. Whoever wins will survive another day to keep battling for play-off spots.
Weather has been a little more accommodating over the past few days as compared to the earlier part of the tournament. We saw a bit of green tinge on the surface in the last game here and there could be a similar surface on offer in this match as well.
Abu Dhabi has embraced the quick bowlers like no other venue this IPL. There's value for express pace, and Mumbai Indians have benefited the most from it - winning five of their six games there.
The toss is going to be very important in this match and we believe that the team that wins the toss might opt to bat first. Teams are now batting first because the pitch slows down while chasing. The team batting first should be seen as having a big advantage.
Stats and Facts
CSK at this venue: Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1
RR at this venue: Played 5, Won 3, Lost 2
This will be MS Dhoni's 200th IPL match. He will become the first cricketer to achieve this feat. He needs respectively one dismissal and 6 runs to complete 150 IPL dismissals and 4000 IPL runs for CSK.
Faf du Plessis needs two catches to complete 50 IPL catches for CSK.
Steve Smith requires 3 fours and 21 runs respectively to complete 1000 IPL runs and 100 IPL fours for RR.
Jos Buttler needs 4 sixes to complete 50 IPL sixes for RR..
CSK: Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi
RR: Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Steven Smith (c), Sanju Samson (wk), Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi
Players to Watch Out For:
CSK: Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Deepak Chahar
RR: Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Steven Smith, Robin Uthappa, Jofra Archer, Kartik Tyagi
SantaBanta's Winner Prediction: Rajasthan Royals
IPL 2020 Winner Live Odds
Mumbai Indians - 2.875
Delhi Capitals - 3.4
Royal Challengers Bangalore - 4.333
Kolkata Knight Riders - 9
Chennai Super Kings - 15
Kings XI Punjab - 23
Sunrisers Hyderabad - 34
Rajasthan Royals - 51
Match Venue: Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Time: 7:30 PM IST
TV: Star Sports Network
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP