Having won two consecutive games in the VIVO Indian Premier League at home, the Shers are now on the road with their next game scheduled on Saturday against the Chennai Super Kings. With both sides collecting six points after four games, the match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium will to be crucial for both as they look to consolidate their hold on the top four.
Chennai Super Kings
Kings XI Punjab
The hosts may hold the upper hand in the head-to-head record, but Kings XI have been in splendid form this season while Chennai Super Kings suffered their first defeat of the season recently in their last game against Mumbai Indians.
Therefore, stopping Kings XI Punjab’s winning momentum and keeping the likes of Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal quiet would the biggest challenge for the hosts if they are to keep their unbeaten streak at home going.
Batting da Baadshah
With Chennai Super Kings’ top order struggling to replicate their form of last season, they have had to rely on captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. And the 37-year-old has duly obliged, top scoring for the yellow army with 119 runs in three innings so far. His 75 not out against Rajasthan Royals helped his side over the line in their last home game; and it was his wicket that tilted the tide in Mumbai’s favour on Wednesday.
For Kings XI, veteran batsman Chris Gayle has been in spectacular form, with his contributions from the top going a long way to their good start to the season. The Universe Boss has scored at least 40 runs in two out of the three games, with the solitary exception being the game against Kolkata Knight Riders when his side ended up second best.
Bowling de Kings
Imran Tahir has been the marquee player for Chennai Super Kings this year, averaging a staggering 6.40 with the ball this season in home games, having picked up five wickets. The South African leggie also has a brilliant economy rate of under six in the 2019 IPL season so far.
The visitors, though, have an overseas bowling sensation of their own in 20-year-old Sam Curran. The left arm pacer alongside teammate Mohammed Shami bowled an exceptional death over spell against Delhi Capitals on Monday, as they collectively had a hand in six of the last seven dismissals while giving away only eight runs. Curran became the youngest ever bowler to pick up a hat-trick in that game; and would be keen to build on where he left off from come Saturday.
Mudde ki Baat
Both sides have identical records, with three wins and a solitary loss thus far. Therefore, the tussle on Saturday will be crucial for both sides to build some thrust as the tournament heads to his midpoint mark. The 2019 IPL season has seen both these sides play some of the best cricket; and a resounding victory for either side at Chepauk Stadium will be a massive signal of intent to all the other franchises.
With the longer boundaries and turning track of Chennai, the match on Saturday is bound to be a treat with quality spin bowlers in both camps.
- Sam Curran became the youngest ever bowler to take a hat-trick in IPL history when he produced figures of 4/11 in his last game against Delhi Capitals.
- Mandeep Singh is yet to be dismissed in this season’s Indian Premier League despite having played all four games for KXIP.
- David Miller has a batting average of 117 this season, having been dismissed only once thus far.
Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (wk), Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Hardus Viljoen, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Varun Chakravarthy, Murugan Ashwin.
Like with the previous games, the Kings XI batting is unlikely to undergo any massive changes. Chris Gayle however would slot right back into the team having recovered from his niggle with Sam Curran being pushed lower down the order. The turning tracks of Chepauk could see the Shers line-up with three spinners- with Tamil Nadu boys Varun Chakravarthy and Murugan Ashwin being preferred. A third spinner might mean Mohammed Shami might have to be given a rest with the World Cup selection in mind.
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.