Cricket is a game of fine lines, in every sense of the word. In the first week of the IPL, the run-ins with the lines have happened a few times – be it Jos Buttler’s ill-timed crossing of the non-striker’s line, the umpire failing to spot Lasith Malinga overstep the line, or R Ashwin’s team’s ignorance of the number of fielders required to be in line with the fielding restrictions. Meanwhile, Chennai Super Kings have toyed with the finish line in their wins against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals, preferring a stroll instead of a dash on both occasions. And, as they get set to host Rajasthan Royals for their second home game of the season on Sunday, the focus will be on whether the 22-yards is in line with what they expect.
After all the anticipation and fanfare leading up to the opening game of the season between the Super Kings and the Royal Challengers, the match itself turned out to be a damp squib. A spin-friendly, slow pitch caused Royal Challengers’ surrender for a meagre total of 70, which the Super Kings took their own sweet time to chase down. Skipper MS Dhoni was frank in his assessment of the pitch and stressed on the need for it to be better going forward in the IPL.
So, while the Super Kings will be concerned with what lies beneath, the Royals will be hoping to do a number on the home team behind enemy lines. They will be up against vociferous CSK loyals, who attend practice games like it’s an IPL final, and also a fortress called Chepauk, which was breached by the Royals only once – dating as far back as 2008. Adding more pressure on the Royals is the fact that they are entering this game on the back of two losses.
For the Super Kings things have moved along smoothly, with the defending champions having extended their winning streak to five games across two seasons. With Shane Watson and Suresh Raina coming up with explosive knocks in the previous game, plenty of finishing options down the order, and the bowlers doing the job expected of them, the Super Kings have little to worry about.