Their three-run victory at the Chepauk Stadium saw Sanju Samson’s unit breach MS Dhoni’s fortress for the first time since 2008, and the three-wicket win over Titans came after losing all three games against them the previous season.
These are the signs of Royals’ fearless approach in their quest for the trophy, an unfinished business from last year’s IPL.
The Royals have managed to click as a unit. Playing their first game at their original home ground here after four years, the present table-toppers Royals will take on second-placed Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the SMS Stadium on Wednesday.
In the batting department, Jos Buttler, Samson and Shimron Hetymer continue to be their pillars of strength, with youngsters looking up to the task. Yashaswi Jaiswal is in good nick while Devdutt Padikkal has started finding his range after being promoted as a No. 3 batter and Dhruv Jurel has managed to impress with his big-hitting ability.
The only glaring weak link is all-rounder Riyan Parag. He hasn’t contributed anything of substance and his IPL numbers — an average of 16 and strike rate of 123.6 in 51 matches, along with his last four knocks of 7, 20, 7 and 5, give little hope.
The LSG have an equally strong batting line-up while their middle-order, which includes Nicholas Pooran and Marcus Stoinis, poses a serious threat.
After three matches, their captain KL Rahul has finally taken off with a 56-ball 74 which came against Punjab Kings in their previous game, but his strike rate in the IPL, which has dropped significantly from 152.45 (2016-2018) to 134.72 (2019-2022), was a matter of discussion yet again. More than how he carves his innings this time, it would be interesting to see how consistent the birthday boy Rahul remains from here. The LSG skipper turned 31 on Tuesday.
But it is Royals’ bowling which puts them ahead of Rahul’s pack, though an interesting competition would be between Royals leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and LSG pacer Mark Wood as they continue to jostle each other for the coveted Purple Cap. Currently, both have 11 wickets to their name, but it is Chahal who holds the cap with a better economy of 7.85 in five games. On the other hand, Wood has an economy of 8.72 in four games.