KL Rahul’s team need a big win over CSK in their final group game to stand a chance of qualifying for the playoffs.kxp
The odds may be stacked against them, but Punjab Kings nevertheless would be giving it their all against Chennai Super Kings on Thursday in the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League. KL Rahul’s side need a big win over the 2018 champions in their final group game at the Dubai International Stadium to possibly progress further in the competition.
Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings hold the upper hand in the head-to-head record, and emerged victorious in the previous game between these two sides as well. Nevertheless, Punjab Kings still have everything to play for in this final group game, and will be going hard come Thursday afternoon against a team that have already qualified.
Batting de Baadshah
Thursday afternoon’s clash could potentially be the straight shootout between the top Orange Cap candidates. Ruturaj Gaikwad of CSK is hot on the heels of Rahul, and would be looking to get another big score under his belt. The 24-year-old is one of the four players to have scored a century this year in the IPL, and has consistently provided starts for his franchise.
KL Rahul has had a similar influence for his franchise, with his performances invariably deciding the outcomes of games for Punjab Kings this year. The 29-year-old has won the man of the match accolade twice this year and scored five fifties so far. Rahul could be playing his last game of IPL 2021 on Thursday, and will be eager to end on a high note and possibly retain that Orange Cap.
Bowling de Kings
Shardul Thakur has been the man with the golden arm for Chennai Super Kings, delivering in crunch situations time and again this year for the team. The medium pacer has an economy rate closer to nine, but he compensates for that with his ability to pick up crucial wickets. Thakur would now look to close out the group stages with another big performance come Thursday.
Mohammed Shami has picked up 18 wickets for Punjab Kings this year, and has lived up to the billing of being the senior bowler for the franchise. With fellow pacers like Arshdeep Singh, Moises Henriques and Nathan Ellis also contributing well with the ball, Shami would be optimistic for another power packed performance in his final group game.
Mudde di Baat
This match is a dead rubber for Chennai Super Kings who can afford to rest a few of their key players since they have already qualified for the playoffs. Punjab Kings however need a big win on Thursday to give their tournament going beyond 14 games. KL Rahul’s side also need to hope that Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders lose their final game by a big margin, so as to allow them to sneak into the playoffs with 12 points on superior net run rate.
- Arshdeep Singh has a strike rate of 8.73 at the Dubai International Stadium in the IPL.
- The last five games have been won by the team batting second at the Dubai International Stadium.
- KL Rahul is just 28 runs away from surpassing Shaun Marsh as the all-time leading run scorer for Punjab Kings.
KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Aiden Markram, Mandeep Singh, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henriques, Harpreet Brar, Adil Rashid, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.
Punjab Kings would want their most experienced XI taking the field for such an important clash. One change that we can expect is Adil Rashid coming back to the team in place of a misfiring Nicholas Pooran given the big boundaries and spin friendly tracks of Dubai. Mandeep Singh could also replace Sarfaraz Khan in what will be a like for like swap.
NOTE: The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.