Thrice champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) failed to take advantage of a six-day rest and on return lost to SunRisers Hyderabad on Friday. CSK will have another opportunity to redeem themselves when they meet Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), who are still looking for their first IPL title, in Sunday’s second encounter in Dubai.
CSK have undoubtedly dominated the lucrative tournament since its inception in 2008, but the MS Dhoni-led side is struggling this year. Nothing has been going right for CSK: first it was off-field issues, and now they have failed to deliver on the field as well, suffering three defeats on the trot.
CSK are surely a star-studded side on paper, but so far they haven’t lived up to the expectations they have raised. And in such a situation, CSK need to salvage pride when they face KXIP here.
A lot was talked about Dhoni’s batting position – he has been batting too low — but even after he promoted himself to No.5, there was no change in the outcome of the match, as CSK went down by seven runs.
With plenty of talent in every department, CSK have failed to click as a unit, something that is being seen as their weakness.
They made three changes in their last encounter but that, too, couldn’t stop them from being at the receiving end. While Dhoni, after a long time, was seen amongst runs with his 47 against SRH, his experienced teammates Shane Watson and Ravindra Jadeja let the team down.
Three-time champions CSK just need a right combination and the moment they attain it, nothing could stop them from giving opposition a tough time, like in the previous years.
On the other hand, KXIP skipper-cum-opener KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been in great form. They have scored 200-plus scores twice in the league so far, but the side was at the receiving end due to lack of experience in their bowling department.
Barring Mohammed Shami, the others — Sheldon Cotrell, Ravi Bishnoi, James Neesham and Krishnappa Gowtham — have not been up to the mark and need to provide good support to experienced Indian pacer.
Moreover, KXIP seem to have been over dependent on Rahul and Agarwal. Barring them, the others have failed to click, especially Glenn Maxwell. The Aussie power-hitter was expected to strengthen the KXIP middle-order but has managed just 30 runs from four games.
Nicholas Pooran is well-known for his explosive hitting but the Caribbean wicket-keeper-batsman hasn’t been up to the reputation he has.
Overall, the contest is surely expected to be another thriller as the CSK side will be desperate to make a comeback while KXIP will look to take advantage of the present lacklustre form of Dhoni’s men.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, James Neesham, Nicholas Pooran, Ishan Porel, Arshdeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Krishnappa Gowtham, Harpreet Brar, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Ravi Bishnoi, Simran Singh (wk), Jagadeesha Suchith, Tajinder Singh, Hardus Viljoen