Kings XI Punjab were off to a flying start in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 with a comfortable victory over the Delhi Daredevils but were brought back on the ground by the Royal Challengers Bangalore who put up a formidable show with the bat and the ball to win it a hard-fought match in the last over. Stakes will be high when Ravichandran Ashwin’s Kings XI Punjab would be up against his former side Chennai Super Kings at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. The Punjab outfit after suffering a close defeat against RCB will be aiming to get the thing back on track making amendments in their bowling performance and their middle order which misfired spectacularly against Kohli’s sharp pacers.
MS Dhoni has had a blistering start to the IPL 2018 campaign with two successive wins against Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders and will be looking forward to leaving behind the injury concerns and the recent loss of home ground to continue the winning run in the tournament. Dwayne Bravo’s 30-ball 67 won Chennai their first game against Mumbai followed by another individual show by Sam Billings which got them over the mark against the KKR with Chepauk witnessing a victory lap from their beloved team after two years. With the likes of Suresh Raina and Kedhar Jadhav out of action, CSK will have to strike a balance between the Indian and overseas players to ensure they put a match-winning unit out at the PCA Stadium.
For Ashiwn it was KL Rahul who dominated the proceedings with the bat scoring the fastest half-century in the history of the tournament in their victory against Delhi Daredevils, and then continued his formidable run in the second game with another splendid show with the bat, he will once again be KXIP’s main man to get them of to a flyer. The other Karnataka batsmen Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair who have had excellent domestic season will be looked up to when they take the field against a pain heavy CSK bowling line up. Ashwin and Nair showed promising signs with the bat against RCB but the middle order consisting of Yuvraj Singh, David Miller, and Marcus Stoinis will have to be more responsible when tasked.
The Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, are yet to impress with the ball as Andre Russell bashed almost all their bowlers in the havoc that he created at the Chepauk in the first home game of Dhoni’s men. But the positive to the team has been the batsmen who have shown that no total is too big for them with the experience they bring under their belt. The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, and MS Dhoni can all be difficult to contain on their day. The mouth-watering encounter will prove to be a real test for Ashwin against his former skipper from whom he has learned the tricks of the trade. It can also be time for Dhoni to launch his newest recruited missile in David Willey who was seen sweating it out in the nets.
Probable Xls for the match between Chennai Super Kings and the Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c), Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur.