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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Rajasthan hoping to beat the heat and CSK to cement top spot

Rajasthan hoping to beat the heat and CSK to cement top spot

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 11, 2024 17:55 IST
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'We just need to keep backing ourselves. With three games to go we don't want to test ourselves but keep the momentum going.'

Rajasthan Royals' Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal are expected to play a huge role on a turning track at the Chepauk against Chennai Super Kings on Sunday

IMAGE: Rajasthan Royals spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal are expected to play a huge role on a turning track at the Chepauk against Chennai Super Kings on Sunday. Photograph: BCCI

Going by the sheer momentum they had in the first half of IPL 2024, Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Donovan Ferreira says the team should have qualified for the play-offs by now, but with three games still remaining they have a great chance of finishing among the top-two.

The Royals, who were leading the IPL table till a few days back, slipped to second spot following two consecutive defeats and are desperate to get back to winning ways when they take on defending champions Chennai Super Kings in Chennai on Sunday.

 

"We should have already qualified for the play-offs by now. But the IPL is a long tournament and, obviously, the second half is important," said Ferreira during the pre-match press conference on Saturday.

Rajasthan Royals are currently on 16 points from 11 games, behind leaders Kolkata Knight Riders, who have already qualified with 18 points from 12.

"We had set out nicely by winning most of the games in the first half, and this game (against CSK) is quite important. We have three games left, but we don't want to leave it too late and put pressure on ourselves," he added. 

After they play CSK on Sunday, the Royals have matches against Punjab Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.

"If we win this game, it will give us an even better chance of finishing first or second. Anyone playing against Chennai knows they are a good team. The past few games have been close, and these small margins can go either way. Hopefully we can get over the line tomorrow (Sunday) by playing the brand of cricket that we have been playing."

The Royals' middle order is a bit of a concern as it has not been tested much this season, but Ferreira said the training intensity ensured all the batters are in good shape.

"It's (middle order) not much of a concern. We are grateful that our top order has put us in good positions and got us over the line. But we have got capable batters and a deep batting line-up to pull us through.

"We just need to keep backing ourselves. With three games to go, we don't want to test ourselves but keep the momentum going. It's about training with the match intensity with the middle order so that when the moment arrives, your skills are sharpened, and you back yourself to pull the game through."

Sunday's fixture will be the first afternoon game at Chepauk this season, and the South African reckoned that spin would play a crucial role, especially with Ravichandran Ashwin returning at his home venue.

"Obviously, this is a turning track. So, Ashwin will play a big role with (Yuzvendra) Chahal tomorrow."

The city is in the grip of an intense heat wave, with temperatures in the range of 41 degrees C. Asked how would they handle the conditions, Ferreira said that as cricketers, they are used to it.

"Fortunately, most of our training schedule has been in the afternoon, so we are kind of used to the heat. But it's not possible to replicate the match intensity in training.

CSK will be without three of their primary bowlers -- Mustafizur Rahman (returned home), Matheesha Pathirana (hamstring injury) and Deepak Chahar (injury).

Ferreira said rather than focus on the issues facing their rivals, his team would play to its strengths.

"It's not good for any team to lose three primary bowlers. But in cricket, any guy can bowl well. It's for us to focus on what we have to do, analyse the bowlers and see who we can take down and how we can do it.

"This is a different wicket and conditions, so we should not focus on what they have been doing but what we can do. It's about having good plans and structure to execute it well out there," he said.

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