Punjab Kings and Chennai Super Kings had contrasting results in their tournament opener. While KL Rahul’s men managed to clinch a high scoring thriller against Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings were taken apart by Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan in a crushing defeat. Both teams have put exciting games in the past thus we are expecting another mouth-watering encounter between these two top teams.
Comparing both sides, Punjab Kings are a superior team by a long distance. KL Rahul has been in stellar form of late. Chris Gayle in the last game showed that he is far from over. The way he played, the ease at which he looked, must have given a lot of confidence to the Punjab Kings. We all know what Gayle can do on this day. Then there is another flamboyant West Indian, Nicolas Pooran, who can decimate the best bowlers. Deepak Hooda also got off to a blistering start in the IPL and would love to make this opportunity count after underperforming in the previous few seasons.
It’s not usual to see a proper bowler, Jhye Richardson in this case, bat at 7 but the kind of firepower Punjab have at the top, they’ll do the job on most occasions. The two Indian bowlers, Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh had a good game against Rajasthan but the two Australians, Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson were taken apart. However, we don’t see Punjab panicking after one game. Both of them have made a reputation after some sizzling performances in the BBL thus there is no reason to believe that they can’t deliver in the IPL.
Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, had a disappointing outing against Delhi. They did manage to get 190 but it was mainly because of the late blitz from Sam Curran. Considering the opposition and the surface they are going to play, Chennai will need their batsman to come good. They have a lot of experience in their team but somewhat lacks the spark that is needed in this format. No doubt, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni are class players, but all of them are nearing the end of their careers and their ability to meet the pace of the game will always be in question.
Can they play at a strike rate of 200? Can they hit those lusty blows out of the park? Can CSK post scores around 200 regularly? - We doubt. Also, their bowling looks bleak at the moment. As per the reports, Lungi Ngidi and Jason Behrendorff still won’t be available for selection thus MS Dhoni will have to go in with the same set of bowlers. He’ll need his bowlers to execute their plans better in the next game.
Pitch Report - The surface is expected to be a decent wicket to bat. However, the wicket might get slower as the game progresses, bringing spinners in to play.
Even though Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith had a poor outing against Rajasthan, KL Rahul is most likely to stick with the duo against CSK.
The Punjab skipper has been in scintillating form. Moreover, he has a fantastic record at the Wankhede. The destructive opener has scored four 90+ scores in his last four games at the venue thus another big knock shouldn't come as a surprise.
KL Rahul (c&wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson, Murugan Ashwin, Riley Meredith, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
Chennai Super Kings
As per the reports, Lungi Ngidi and Jason Behrendorff still won’t be available for selection for CSK thus MS Dhoni will have to get the job done with almost the same set of bowlers.
Raina marked his return to the yellow jersey with a blistering half-century. He is the most important player in the Chennai set up and the franchise will expect an even better show from him in the next game.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar