With the league stages of the Indian Premier League 2020 reaching its completion on Tuesday. Apart from Mumbai no other teams have sealed their play- offs spot. It looks like a play- off before the play- offs, as every match now is virtually a knock- out match for the teams.
The Sunday high profile double- header will start off with the Chennai Super Kings locking horns with the Kings Xl Punjab. The thrilling fixture is scheduled to be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the encounter will mark the 53rd match of the IPL 2020.
The Chennai Super Kings are out of contention for the play- offs, this is the first time in the history of the tournament the three times champions are not able to make it to the play- offs. The KXIP are currently placed 4th but can not afford to lose the match as a defeat here would chuck them out of the contention of the play- offs.
Though CSK is out of the league, they have been showcasing some outstanding cricket in their last two outings. The other teams would be thankful to the CSK for defeating the KKR, as now the table is much more open. The 2019 runners up will come into this match on the back of a thrilling last ball win against the Kolkata Knight Riders as the Men in Yellow, courtesy of their young opener Ruturaj Gaikwad and star all- rounder Ravindra Jadeja managed to chase down the score of 172 with 6 wickets in hand.
While the KXIP after a five match winning streak were finally made to taste defeat by the resurgent Rajasthan Royals. The RR once again showcased a brilliant batting performance as once again their key players- Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson piled on the runs for the Royals and managed to comfortably chase down the score of 185 with 7 wickets and 15 balls to spare.
The previous encounter between the two sides was a completely one-sided clash as Chennai ended up on the winning side by a destructive margin of 10 wickets. The KXIP after winning the toss elected to bat first and with the help of clinical 63 by their captain KL Rahul and rest of the batsmen getting starts, they managed to notch up a score of 178 on the board. The CSK on the other side came all guns blazing as the vintage Shane Watson was once again seen. Both openers put together 181 for the first wicket and gave CSK a stunning 10 wicket win.
Can the Chennai Super Kings finish their worst tournament on a high note? Or will Kings Xl Punjab be back to their winning ways?
Head to Head
Matches Played- 23, CSK- 14, KXIP- 8, N/R- Tie- 1
The Chennai side have finally managed to break the shackles, or should we say Ruturaj has managed to? The opener has played two significant knocks for CSK in the last 2 matches, both which ended up as the match winning knocks. Said that, the team has been doing a wonderful job in the last 2 matches and they would like to play the same Xl that won against the KKR.
Kings Xl Punjab on the other side have a huge task ahead and they have everything to play for here. But the team has been doing a great job and it was only the due factor that took the game away from the Punjab side. They do look well settled and not much to worry about the balance. In what is a must win game, the management and captain will not want to fiddle much with the well settled winning combination.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch in Abu Dhabi has been on the slower side ever since the beginning and is only expected to continue the same way. Though we did some big shots in the last few matches, a score of 165 plus still looks highly competitive in this pitch. Said that, the due has been playing a very crucial role in the last few games and the chasing teams have made easy work of the huge totals, the team batting second could enjoy the advantage once again.
The conditions are well in favor of cricket as clear skies are expected throughout the day. The temperature is predicted to be hovering in the range of 27-31 degrees whilst the duration of the match. While the humidity is expected to be floating in the 55 percent range throughout the afternoon.
Probable Playing Xl
Chennai Super Kings (CSK): Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), N Jagadeesan, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Karn Sharma, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi
Kings Xl Punjab (KXIP): KL Rahul (c & wk), Mandeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
KL Rahul (KXIP) vs Sam Curran (CSK)
It is now or never for the KXIP and who other than the captain KL Rahul to do the job? The man has been in exceptional touch throughout the tournament and has scored 641 runs in the tournament so far, he looks very tough to be caught by others in the list of the highest run- getters. Rahul will know this is the time the team will need him the most and he will be looking to deliver to his peak potential.
CSK young sensation Sam Curran is a greedy bowler, he is currently the highest wicket- taker for CSK in this season and in order for CSK to finish the tournament on a high they will have to remove the in-from KXIP opener as early as possible in the innings. The all-rounder has picked up 13 wickets this season at an economy of 8.22.
Can the KXIP skipper once again provide the ideal start for his team? Or will the young Sam Curran shatter the hopes of the Punjab side?
Ruturaj Gaikwad (CSK) vs Arshdeep Singh (KXIP)
The CSK opener has been making a statement in the last two matches and he looks to be the ideal opener for CSK in the future. The Right- hander was only able to score 5 runs in his first 3 matches for this season but the last 2 matches have painted a completely different story for the youngster. He will look forward to enjoying his outing once again and once he gets going he is a delight to the eyes.
On the other side will be another youngster who would be raring to have a go at the opener. Arshdeep Singh though on the higher side of the economy, he has been able to pick some valuable wickets and has also done a pretty decent job in the death overs. He will need to hit the timber in order for KXIP to get past the Men in Yellow.
In the clash of the youngsters. Who do you think will prevail?
KXIP look much stronger on the sheets and look well balanced as a side. One poor show against the Rajasthan Royals can not be taken for the comparison and the way Punjab have bounced back in the tournament, one could comfortably say they are capable of getting past the Chennai side here.
The conditions in Abu Dhabi would be in favor of the bowlers but the recent matches have shown us the batsmen having a good time as well. The only way CSK could come out as the best team is their bowlers manage to pick up the crucial wickets KL Rahul and ‘Universe Boss’ early in the innings.
KL Rahul and Co. have been doing a great job and it was only the factor that cost them the game against Royals. They still look very well placed to win this encounter.
Cricwizz predicts Kings Xl Punjab to win the match