The Rajasthan Royals started their IPL campaign on a high after claiming a 16-run victory against the Chennai Super Kings after successfully defending a humungous total of 216 runs. CSK were the obvious favourites coming into the game, especially after comfortably winning against the defending champions. In addition to this, Rajasthan’s two most important and impact players – Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes – were set to miss out due to personal reasons.

In this cricket analysis, we will analyse the game statistically to have a look at the crucial moments that lead to the victory of the Royals.

Having won the toss, Chennai once again elected to bowl first after a successful chase against the Mumbai Indians and also considering the dew factor that would kick in during the latter half of the game.

How did the teams perform during their batting?  

Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings - IPL 2020 - Match Review

The Royals batted exceptionally well throughout their innings with Steven Smith opening the batting for the very first time in his career. Even after losing the debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal quite early in the innings, Sanju Samson and Smith managed to score 54 runs at the end of the powerplay. By utilizing the short dimensions of the ground and the fuller length bowled by the CSK spinners, Smith and Samson ripped them apart by putting up a partnership of 121 runs just before Lungi Ngidi was brought back into the attack to get Samson out. Rajasthan started losing wickets thereafter in quick succession, and credit must for this must go to Sam Curran for his brilliant spell. Just when CSK were trying to get some momentum in the game, the tables turned quickly when Jofra Archer smashed 27 runs off just eight balls which comprised of four sixes in Ngidi’s 30-run final over.

Needless to say, chasing such a huge target is always difficult, but the Super Kings started in a calculative fashion, thereby scoring 53 runs at the end of powerplay with no wickets down. But due to the relatively tight lines bowled by the spinners, especially Rahul Tewatia, the pressure eventually got to the CSK batsman. The middle-order collapsed in no time and this put RR in the front seat. On the other hand, the South African batsman Faf du Plessis, who was finding it difficult to time the ball at the beginning of his innings, found his rhythm later and scored 72 runs off 37 balls – but with a lack of partnership in the middle, CSK were unable to chase down the target. However, the CSK fans had something to cheer about when their beloved captain MS Dhoni, who joined the party late on, hit a few out of the park to bring the NRR down.

Spinners making the difference…

Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings - IPL 2020 - Match Review

As it is clearly seen, the CSK spin duo were very expensive, giving away 95 runs for just one wicket in the eight overs that they bowled together. Even though they were turning the ball away from the batsmen, the fuller length balls filled with pace aided the batsmen to effortlessly clear the fence. Playing with just five bowling options, CSK were unable to try different bowling options as well.

On the other hand, the Royals’ spin duo consistently bowled back of a length deliveries, thereby asking the CSK batsmen to reach out for the ball. Special credits to Tewatia, who also varied his pace very well to claim the wicket of the danger man Shane Watson. Together, they gave away 75 runs in eight overs claiming four important wickets.

Our very own Match impact index rightly measures the massive impact Tewatia had in the game by claiming three wickets to his name, and also the poor bowling performance displayed by Chawla that cost CSK the game.

Some stellar batting performances…

Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings - IPL 2020 - Match Review

It was raining sixes in Sharjah, with Samson hitting nine of them. He displayed a phenomenal batting scoring of 74 at a strike rate of 231.25. He had the second-largest impact on the game after Archer in terms of batting, which will give the youngster immense confidence going into the tournament. Smith on the other hand played his role perfectly, rotating the strike and scoring at a much lower rate when compared to Samson. This results in a negative index, but his crucial 69 of 47 was one of the main reasons behind their huge total.

Du Plessis was the lone warrior for Chennai, as he continued his form from the previous game. His 72 of just 37 balls helped CSK reach the 200-run mark – which would’ve been very difficult otherwise. Though it wasn’t enough in the end, CSK will be very happy to have a consistent performer in their shaky middle order.