This season has been anything but good for Rajasthan Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane. Before the start of the season, Rahane was handed the responsibility of leading the side after Steve Smith was banned in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal. However, the India batting star has not quite managed to lead his side from the front.
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In 10 games, the right-handed batsman has scored a modest 239. A strike-rate of 125 and an average of just over 29 pretty much sums up his average season. But despite his lukewarm season so far, Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming is well aware of the threat possessed by him. Ahead of the game against the Royals, Fleming insisted that Rahane holds the key for the team’s success. Fleming said that getting Rahane early will be important.
“We need to get him out early as he could be a very good influence at the top of the order. He’s a lot more attacking than what people think. Removing him means it opens up the opportunity to expose the middle order. If he plays well, it allows the likes of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and the hitters in the side a lot more freedom,” Fleming said ahead of the game.
The Super Kings will start the contest as the firm favourites. The two-time IPL champions are second in the points table with seven wins in 10 games. On the other hand, the Royals are languishing at sixth position and face a must-win situation in every game.
However, Fleming is in no mood to take the Royals lightly.
“Teams that are in a situation where they have to win games are uncomfortable and are dangerous. From our point of view, we have got to match the intensity that they brought to the last game. You can be in situation where you are scrapping around for the last couple of games of the round, so each game is pretty similar for us. We try to play with the top intensity that we can. There are no easy games in IPL,” Fleming said.