After storming into the playoffs, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have strutted a bit and have lost two back-to-back games against Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Delhi Capitals (DC) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). CSK have qualified through to the playoffs but would be keen to finish at the top two as that would give them two shots in reaching the finals.
The loss against DC was due to a lack of runs from the middle order. Barring Ambati Rayudu’s unbeaten 55, CSK batters hardly failed to get going against DC bowlers. It is pretty much evident that when their openers Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad fail, the middle-order batters largely face trouble in pressing the accelerator. With the business end of the tournament nearing, the likes of MS Dhoni, Moeen Ali, and Rayudu would be hoping to get some runs before the playoffs matches begin.
Meanwhile, Punjab Kings (PBKS) have made a habit of falling short in the run-chases. As soon as opening batters KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal depart, the remaining batters choke under the pressure of scoring runs in the death overs. Against RCB too they had the run-chase pretty much under their control but with the wicket of Agarwal, their fortune started to go in the reverse gear.
PBKS, with 10 points on board, are out of the playoffs race. With just a game to be played, the team would be hoping to end their campaign on a high.
The match is going to be played at the Dubai International Stadium. So far, the surface has looked decent to bat. Comparatively, the pitch has not slowed down, and batting has got easier as the game has progressed.
Predicted Playing XI
Chennai Super Kings
MS Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina/Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood
KL Rahul (captain/wicketkeeper), Mayank Agarwal, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Sarfaraz Khan/Chris Jordan, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh
CSK’s middle-order batter Ambati Rayudu looked good against the Capitals. Coming into the bat with his team struggling, the seasoned campaigner went about his business in a calm and calculative manner. Dhoni has entrusted Rayudu with the task of manning the middle order and Rayudu would be hoping to justify it in the coming few games.
PBKS most consistent bowler this season, Arshdeep Singh has hardly put a foot wrong. The left-arm pacer so far has taken 16 wickets in 11 matches and has ably supported senior player Mohammed Shami. Whenever skipper Rahul needs wickets, the youngster has delivered the goods in the powerplay and in the death overs too.