Monday evening is crunch time for the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals as the fourth and fifth-placed franchises in the 10-team Indian Premier League meet in Jaipur to fight for a place in the next round.
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Chennai Super Kings captain M.S. Dhoni will come up against Shane Warne of the Rajasthan Royals.
The Mumbai Indians have dominated the IPL this year and look assured of a place in the qualifiers after racking up 16 points. Kolkata Knight Riders are close behind with 14 and will probably progress, while Royal Challengers Bangalore have made a charge thanks to the astonishing batting of Chris Gayle – the signing of the century – and are well positioned on 13 points.
Those three teams aren’t guaranteed a place in the final four qualifying spots, but it’s looking increasingly likely. That leaves the other franchises scrapping over the final qualifier berth.
All hope is lost for the Delhi Daredevils on eight points and the Pune Warriors, Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab–all with six.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala are hanging on with 10 points, but Chennai and Rajasthan, on 12 and 11 points, respectively, are the most likely candidates for a place in the last four, making this evening’s encounter hugely important for the two teams.
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The Super Kings against the Royals sounds more like a medieval jousting duel than a cricket match, but there will be cricketing royalty on the pitch at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Monday night.
Chennai captain and India’s heroic World Cup winner Mahendra Singh Dhoni comes up against one of the world’s greatest cricketers and the best captain Australia never had, Shane Warne (he did captain Australia for 11 One-Day Internationals, but he was never skipper on a long-term basis).
This will be the first home match for the Rajasthan Royals since Warne announced his retirement from cricket on Friday. Few people are as competitive as Warne and he will be desperate to end his career on a high. The 41-year old Australian is one of the IPL’s top wicket-takers this year, with 11 scalps to his name, and he has been an inspirational leader for the Royals and is hungry as ever for success.
“Goodnight all – massive game tomorrow v chennai – hope to see you all at the ground,” Warne wrote late Sunday on Twitter.
There are plenty of other strong Antipodean players in the Rajasthan Royals team, notably Shane Watson and Ross Taylor, but the Chennai Super Kings have a special Australian of their own in Mike “Mr. Cricket” Hussey.
Hussey has been in fine form in IPL4 and is one of the tournament’s leading run-scorers. He was named man-of-the-match for his 79 not out in last week’s game against the Rajasthan Royals in Chennai’s M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, extending the Super Kings’ unbeaten home record.
The Super Kings haven’t been so successful on the road, however, so this could be the Rajasthan Royals’ chance to not only avenge last week’s defeat but to also take a step closer to the IPL4’s final four.
Fuente: India Real Time