CSK were under-par, especially in the bowling department, as they went down to Delhi Capitals (DC) by seven wickets in their opening game.
In contrast, Punjab did win their opening clash against Rajasthan Royals. But their bowling was put under real pressure courtesy a wonderful century by RR skipper Sanju Samson. When the teams meet on Friday, CSK’s aim will be clear. They would want to get their first points on the board. As for Punjab, they would seek improvements in their bowling and look not to repeat their mistakes from the previous encounter.
CSK got off to a poor start against DC, losing both their openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis cheaply. Both Gaikwad and du Plessis displayed some good form last season with some impressive knocks. They would want to deliver similar results this year as well.
The good news for CSK is that Suresh Raina, despite being past his prime, is still good enough to merit a place in the middle-order. He proved his worth in the last game with a ‘turning back the clock’ fifty. England all-rounder Moeen Ali did a good job for CSK, but the management would expect bigger scores of him rather than 20s and 30s. Sam Curran yet again displayed his talent with a sizzling cameo in the last match.
The CSK bowlers in the last game were rendered ineffective in the wake of Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan’s assault. Except Dwayne Bravo, no other bowler could make a serious impression. The likes of Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar and Moeen are good bowlers and would be keen to stage a comeback.
Punjab played some exceptional cricket with the bat against RR. KL Rahul was sublime was Deepak Hooda was spectacular with his monstrous hitting. Chris Gayle also played a nice cameo. They would be confident of Nicholas Pooran coming to the part against CSK.
The form of opener Mayank Agarwal and the bowlers would be a worry. Apart from Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh all the other bowlers were taken for plenty. The ineffectiveness of Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith and Murugan Ashwin might force a change in the bowling attack.
Punjab Kings: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (C and WK), Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami
Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf Du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C and WK), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar
--Renin Wilben Albert