Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab will face off on Sunday night in Dubai and both teams would be glad that neither of them is facing any of the other six teams in the competition at this stage.
Both sides have just a win from four outings and would desperately want to get their campaign back on track to escape the bottom trenches of the points table.
Though CSK leads the head-to-head battle 13-9, Punjab will feel it has a slight upper hand going into the game. Despite its three losses, two of them came in close situations where it competed hard till the end. Against Delhi Capitals, the team lost in the Super Over while one bad cost it the game against Rajasthan Royals.
While Punjab batsmen have looked good, its death bowling is an area of concern. The strategy for the team should be similar to what Sunrisers Hyderabad did on Friday: bat first and use scoreboard pressure to stifle the CSK batsmen.
The Super Kings, on the other hand, have been outplayed in its last three games.
The team’s batting unit is clueless and the management’s rigid approach to the batting order has not helped with explosive batsman like Sam Curran being underutilised.
Sam Curran. – BCCI/IPL
The key men
For CSK, it will boil down to how it uses its explosive batsmen like Curran, Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja in the batting order. Shane Watson is also due for a big one and if he can ease the pressure at the top, it could help things down the order.
Both Delhi and Hyderabad have used their spinners well against the CSK batting line up and Punjab could bank on leg-spinners Ravi Bishnoi, M Ashwin. to follow suit on Sunday.
Ravi Bishnoi scalped three wickets against RCB. – BCCI/IPL
Chennai Super Kings: Murali Vijay, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (Captain & Wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Kedar Jadhav, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Lungi Ngidi, Karn Sharma, Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur, Monu Kumar, Mitchell Santner, R. Sai Kishore, N Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif
Kings XI Punjab: K. L. Rahul (Capt.), Glenn Maxwell, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Sheldon Cottrell, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, M. Ashwin, J. Suchith, Harpreet Brar, Darshan Nalkande, James Neesham, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, Nicholas Pooran, Prabhsimran Singh.
Match 18, Dubai International Stadium
Time: 7.30 pm