Erratic Kings XI Punjab look to upset Chennai applecart
Struggling to be consistent, Kings XI Punjab will have their task cut out when they take on the in-form Chennai Super Kings in IPL-8 on Saturday. CSK have lost just one of their five matches so far and are currently second on the table with four wins. Kings XI, on the other hand, have lost three of their five games and are placed third from bottom right now.
It has been smooth sailing so far for Chennai, the two time former champions. The batting has an intimidating look to it and the entire top half has contributed well. Although New Zealand dasher Brendon McCullum’s bat has not produced a big knock in the last couple of matches but he remains a crucial cog in the opening slot.
The opener, who smashed an unbeaten hundred against SunRisers Hyderabad, seasons first and only century so far, has accumulated 166 runs in 5 games. Suresh Raina too struck form after a topsy-turvy start and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has also chipped in whenever needed, making batting a massive strength for CSK.
The bowling has also delivered quite well for the team despite not having a star spearhead. Veteran Ashish Nehra, who leads the pace pack, came up with an outstanding effort in the previous match against Royal Challengers Bangalore by chipping off four wickets for a mere 10 runs in his four overs.
Kings XI, in contrast, have struggled for a major part of their campaign so far although their morale would be boosted by tie-breaker win over table-toppers Rajasthan Royals in their last game. Their batting, which has looked wobbly, managed to draw even, chasing 192 runs for victory in the humdinger. However, a concern which did not subside even after that was Australian swashbuckler Glenn Maxwell’s indifferent form.
Maxwell, despite having a good World Cup, has failed to fire in the IPL. He, along with skipper Virender Sehwag, will have to rediscover his form for Punjab’s batting to have an edge even though David Miller and Shaun Marsh have had a decent run. The bowling also faces a similar problem with pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson struggling to cause the kind of damage that he is known for.
Teams (from): CSK: MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Ashish Nehra, Baba Aparajith, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ishwar Pandey, Matt Henry, Mithun Manhas, Mohit Sharma, Pawan Negi, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Samuel Badree, Suresh Raina, Ronit More, Michael Hussey, Rahul Sharma, Kyle Abbott, Ankush Bains, Irfan Pathan, Pratyush Singh, Andrew
Tye and Eklavya Dwivedi.
KXIP: George Bailey (capt), Anureet Singh, Parvinder Awana, Rishi Dhawan, Yogesh Golwalkar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Beuran Hendricks, Mitchell Johnson, Karanveer Singh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Nikhil Naik, Axar Patel, Thisara Perera, Wriddhiman Saha, Sandeep Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Shivam Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Murali Vijay, Manan Vohra.