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IPL 2021: CSK batsmen Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina will play freely, says Gautam Gambhir

New Delhi, Sep 13: The second phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 will begin on September 19 with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in UAE.

MS Dhoni-led CSK are placed second in the points table with 10 points in seven games (5 wins and 2 losses) while Rohit Sharma's MI were sitting at number four in the points tally with eight points (4 wins and three defeats).

Before the suspension of the IPL 2021 midway, Mumbai and Chennai played a high scoring game, which the former won and registered the highest-ever successful run chase in the history of the tournament.

IPL 2021: Action begins at UAE: Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians to hit ground for trainingIPL 2021: Action begins at UAE: Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians to hit ground for training

In response to Chennai's 218/4, Mumbai overhauled the target on the final delivery of the game and won the match by four wickets. Kieron Pollard's 34-ball 87* guided MI to an emphatic win as the fifties from Faf du Plessis (50), Moeen Ali (58) and Ambati Rayudu (72*) went in vain for CSK.

Bot the teams looked in a rich vein of form in the tournament and seemed the top-contenders for the play-offs stage. Going into the second phase of the league, the two sides will once again bank upon their key players for a brilliant show.

Former India cricketer and two-time IPL winning captain Gautam Gambhir believes the pressure of not playing international cricket might come as a blessing in disguise for senior CSK players such as Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina and the duo will play freely in the second half of the tournament.

Gambhir, while speaking exclusively on STAR SPORTS show GAME PLAN, said the ambition of playing for the national side sometimes has an adverse effect on the mentality of the players but it will not be the case with Rayudu and Raina - both of whom have retired from international cricket.

"Probably sometimes, it's a blessing in disguise when you don't think of playing for India. People like Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina probably won't have any ambitions to play for India anymore, so, they can go out and play freely. So, when you talk about not having too much match practice, but at the same time, they will have no pressure of expectations, because sometimes when you are knocking at the door of international cricket, you start putting a lot of pressure on yourself. But these guys will be under no pressure," Gambhir opined.

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Story first published: Monday, September 13, 2021, 13:56 [IST]
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