IPL 2019: Under-fire Rajasthan Royals ponder Ashton Turner inclusion as rampant CSK come calling

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IPL debut on the cards for Turner? Image credit - @rajasthanroyals/Twitter.

Rajasthan Royals have it all to do when they play host to defending Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Chennai Super Kings at Jaipur on Thursday.

Ajinkya Rahane and his men are currently in seventh spot in the league table after registering just one win so far in their five matches and will need to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible if they are to stand any chance of making the play-offs for the second year in a row.

The Royals come into the clash on the back of a crushing eight-wicket loss to Kolkata Knight Riders at the same venue with their home ground at the Sawai Mansingh stadium no longer the fortress it once was.

In their three home matches so far in the campaign, Rajasthan have been beaten on two occasions with their only victory coming against bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore.

CHANCE FOR TURNER AS STOKES CONTINUES TO MISFIRE?

Rajasthan’s overseas contingent is arguably one of the best among the eight franchises in fray with the likes of Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Steve Smith and Ben Stokes in tow. However, the team has been punching way below its capabilities with Stokes struggling for the second year in a row.

The most expensive overseas purchase in the 2018 auction has mustered just 76 runs from his five innings while his four wickets have come at an economy-rate of nearly 11 runs an over.

Stokes has been highly expensive. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Stokes has been highly expensive. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

With their star all-rounder continuing to struggle with both bat and ball, Rajasthan might be tempted to introduce Ashton Turner into the playing XI. The Australia all-rounder shot into the limelight with some sensational hitting during the side’s recent 3-2 ODI series win in India and it could be time for him to finally make his IPL bow.

Defending champions Chennai come into the clash on the back a comprehensive seven-wicket win over high-flying Kolkata Knight Riders. MS Dhoni and his men lead the league table with five wins so far with their only loss coming against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium.

CHENNAI’S AWAY FORM TO BE TESTED

It has all gone swimmingly well for the three-time champions with CSK once again establishing themselves as the team to beat after the early stages of the competition. The men in yellow wear a settled look with their collection of veteran players who all have a clear-cut role in the squad.

However, it is important to note that four of Chennai’s five wins have come at home at the Chepauk stadium where the slow pitch has aided their spin-contingent containing the likes of Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja. Skipper Dhoni has made no secret of his unhappiness with the Chennai pitch despite the team’s strong run.

The issue with the Chepauk pitch will have to be put on the backburner in the coming days for CSK with the franchise now starting a long run of away fixtures. Their two away clashes this season yielded a win and a defeat and as such, their away capabilities are yet to be truly tested. How Chennai fare on the road in their upcoming visits to Jaipur, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru will give a true picture of their title credentials.

Chennai beat Rajasthan by eight runs in the first fixture held at Chepauk. Can they do the double over Rahane’s men or will the desperate Royals reignite their campaign?

LIKELY XIs

Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler (wk), Ajinkya Rahane (c), Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Rahul Tripathi, Ashton Turner, Prashant Chopra, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni.

Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c and wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Scott Kuggeleijn, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir.

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