The traditional rivalry between Northern and Southern India is back to entertain viewers in the IPL. The men from Punjab are all set to challenge the Chennai Super Kings in their own backyard. When these teams met in the last season, only mayhem for the bowlers was witnessed. On all three occasions though, the Kings XI managed to upstage the Chennai Super Kings and thrashed them with ease. Chennai was ruthless against every other team, but it seemed that as soon as they faced Punjab, that positive attitude was gone for a long walk.
The two teams in between met in the Champions League T20 semi final. That time however, the Super Kings emerged victorious. Nonetheless, everyday is a fresh new day for cricketers and the talented individuals would be looking to be a part of the winning side. Defeating Chennai in its own backyard is far from an easy task. The Super Kings have the best record while playing at home and this should be a massive source of concern for the Punjabis. Easier said than done, this game promises to be a thrilling encounter and the fans better be up for it.
The two mighty talented teams clashed thrice in the previous IPL. The first game between them was played at the Sheikh Zayad Stadium in Abu Dhabi on the 18th of April 2014. Batting first, the Super Kings batsmen mauled the Kings XI bowlers and scored a massive 205. But in the next two hours, what viewers witnessed was simply outstanding. The Kings XI batsmen were aggressive from the very first ball and Glenn Maxwell batting at number 3 tore apart the CSK bowling. With David Miller, Maxwell had a partnership of 115 from just 10.3 overs! In the end, the Kings XI easily won the game with 7 balls to spare. Maxwell was named the Man of the Match for his whirlwind innings of 95.
The Barabati stadium in Cuttack was the host for the second encounter between these teams. The Kings XI batting first posted a mammoth total of 231. Their batting effort was once again led by none other than the official tormentor of the Super Kings – Glenn Maxwell. The Australian scored 90 off just 38 balls. His carnage was enough to dent the game for the Super Kings. The men in yellow shocked everyone by not even attempting to go for the chase. They managed to get to 187 in their 20 overs. Captain Dhoni later said that he wanted to take care of the net run rate hence they didn’t go for the chase. For a team hailed as the “best T20 side in the world” this was shameful.
The third clash between them was undoubtedly the best among all. It was the second qualifier and the Kings XI were put in to bat at the Wankhede. It was a game remembered for the masterclass of a terrorizing batsman known as Virender Sehwag. Sehwag played like the Sehwag of the good old times and scored an astonishing 122 off just 58 balls. The Kings XI posted 226. The Super Kings at one stage were 100-1 in just six overs. Suresh Raina played the innings of his life and made 87 off just 25! Simply unbelievable! But that wasn’t good enough as a middle order collapse saw the Super Kings being eliminated from the tournament.
It has been two games now since McCullum’s willow has been quiet. He would want to get back at his destructive best and the home track of Chepauk offers him just that. His start at the top of the order would be very crucial for the Super Kings. If the Kiwi skipper is in for five overs, then the visitors better be circumspect.
This IPL has been a miserable outing for R. Ashwin so far. To make matters complicated, he is now up against the Kings XI Punjab, the team which mauled him in all the outings last time. Ashwin’s economy rate against them in the previous IPL was 12.3! His rivalry with Glenn Maxwell will define this game!
The Nawab of Najafgarh hasn’t set the stage on fire so far. He led the side pretty well in the last game and he is once again expected to lead them against the Super Kings. Sehwag likes to bat at Chepuak and he has an ideal opportunity against the Super Kings. He surely would want to play another innings like his epic one against the same opponents he played at the Wankhede.
Maxi, has endured a woeful run in this IPL so far. He loves batting against the Chennai Super Kings and made life hell for them in the previous season of the IPL. So far though, he has been mediocre. The game against the Super Kings would be his last opportunity and he surely would want to make it count.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS:
The hosts are likely to stick to their winning XI.
1. D. Smith 2. B. McCullum 3. S. Raina 4. F. Du Plessis 5. D. Bravo 6. MS Dhoni 7. R. Jadeja 8. R. Ashwin 9. M. Sharma 10. I. Pandey 11. A. Nehra
KINGS XI PUNJAB:
Either Rishi Dhawan or Karanveer Singh will replace Shivam Sharma. Manan Vohra is also likely to replace the underperforming Murali Vijay.
1. V. Sehwag 2. M. Vijay/ M. Vohra 3. S. Marsh 4. G. Maxwell 5. D. Miller 6. W. Saha 7. A. Patel 8. M. Johnson 9. R. Dhawan / K. Singh 10. S. Sharma 11. A. Singh