Three-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) failed to take advantage of a six-day rest and on return lost to SunRisers Hyderabad on Friday. CSK will have another opportunity to redeem themselves when they meet Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), who are still looking for their first IPL title, in Sunday's second encounter here.
CSK have undoubtedly dominated the lucrative tournament since its inception in 2008, but the MS Dhoni-led side is struggling this year. Nothing has been going right for CSK: first it was off-field issues, and now they have failed to deliver on the field as well, suffering three defeats on the trot.
CSK are surely a star-studded side on paper, but so far they haven't lived up to the expectations they have raised. And in such a situation, CSK need to salvage pride when they face KXIP here.
A lot was talked about Dhoni's batting position - he has been batting too low -- but even after he promoted himself to No.5, there was no change in the outcome of the match, as CSK went down by seven runs.
With plenty of talent in every department, CSK have failed to click as a unit, something that is being seen as their weakness.
They made three changes in their last encounter but that, too, couldn't stop them from being at the receiving end. While Dhoni, after a long time, was seen amongst runs with his 47 against SRH, his experienced teammates Shane Watson and Ravindra Jadeja let the team down.
Three-time champions CSK just need a right combination and the moment they attain it, nothing could stop them from giving opposition a tough time, like in the previous years.
On the other hand, KXIP skipper-cum-opener KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been in great form. They have scored 200-plus scores twice in the league so far, but the side was at the receiving end due to lack of experience in their bowling department.
Barring Mohammed Shami, the others -- Sheldon Cottrell, Ravi Bishnoi, James Neesham and Krishnappa Gowtham -- have not been up to the mark and need to provide good support to experienced Indian pacer.
Moreover, KXIP seem to have been over dependent on Rahul and Agarwal. Barring them, the others have failed to click, especially Glenn Maxwell. The Aussie power-hitter was expected to strengthen the KXIP middle-order but has managed just 30 runs from four games.
Nicholas Pooran is well-known for his explosive hitting but the Caribbean wicket-keeper-batsman hasn't been up to the reputation he has.
Overall, the contest is surely expected to be another thriller as the CSK side will be desperate to make a comeback while KXIP will look to take advantage of the present lacklustre form of Dhoni's men.
Chennai Super Kings: Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Piyush Chawla, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Murali Vijay, Karn Sharma, Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, Monu Kumar, Mitchell Santner, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, N Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul(w/c), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, Sarfaraz Khan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell, Deepak Hooda, Hardus Viljoen, Jagadeesha Suchith, Ishan Porel, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Tajinder Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Arshdeep Singh, Simran Singh, Harpreet Brar, Murugan Ashwin, Chris Jordan, Mandeep Singh, Chris Gayle
Starting XI Prediction:
Chennai Super Kings: Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (C & Wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Piyush Chawla
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (C & Wk), Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Jordan, M Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Sheldon Cottrell, Mohammed Shami
Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings Dream11 Picks!
Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Faf du Plessis, Nicholas Pooran, MS Dhoni (C & Wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Chahar, Sheldon Cottrell, Mohammed Shami
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni(C & Wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul(C & Wk), Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Jordan, Harpreet Brar, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell
The game begins!
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal are at the crease. Rahul is on strike. Deepak Chahar will open the attack for CSK.
Score after 5 overs: KXIP (38-0)
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal are playing with a lot of stability. They are saving their wickets and also scripting a good amount of runs. A good partnership is on the cards if Rahul and Agarwal continue to play like this.
Score after 10 overs: KXIP (71-1)
Agarwal has been dismissed after scripting a few boundaries. Rahul has also been batting with a lot of stability, scoring boundaries time-to-time. Although no maximums from either of the two batsmen.
Score after 15 overs: KXIP (130-2)
Looks like Rahul will once again keep hold the Orange Cap as the Punjab lad has crossed the half-century mark. With this rate, a century is on the cards. Nicholas Pooran is with Rahul at the crease. Can this batting line-up set a target of 200 for MS Dhoni and Co?
The chase begins!
Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis are at the crease. Watson is on strike. Sheldon Cottrell will open the attack for KXIP.
Score after 5 overs: CSK (41-0)
Chennai Super Kings is having a good start to the chase. Both Watson and du Plessis are standing firm at the crease, settling in to build a great opening partnership.
Kings XI Punjab need a wicket, BADLY!
Score after 10 overs: CSK (101-0)
Is Watson back in charge? From what it seems, Watson has finally found his form back after struggling in the previous three games.
If things continue to go this way, both openers Watson and du Plessis will successfully complete the chase as both have successfully completed their half-centuries.
Score after 15 overs: CSK (150-0)
The opening partnership between Watson and du Plessis is still going strong. There is no way CSK are bottling this one!
Chennai Super Kings defeat Kings XI Punjab by 10 wickets!
Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis conjured up commanding unbeaten half-centuries as Chennai Super Kings demolished Kings XI Punjab by 10 wickets to snap their string of losses in the IPL here on Sunday.
CSK relished a much-needed victory after three defeats in a row, overhauling a 179-run target with remarkable ease.
Watson (83 not out) and Du Plessis (87 not out) ensured that there was no close finish this time, reducing the match to a 'no-contest' with their authoritative batting.
The seasoned Australian punished the KXIP bowlers with 11 fours and three sixes in his 53-ball unbeaten knock while Du Plessis hit 11 fours and a six from 53 balls to also remain not out.
Except Mohammed Shami, KXIP did not have a bowler who could trouble the opposition batsmen and CSK exploited it to the fullest. CSK moved to sixth spot from bottom with this confidence-boosting win.
Skipper KL Rahul had hit a well-paced 63 to lead Kings XI Punjab to a competitive 178 for four after electing to bat but in the absence of good bowlers it was an onerous task to stop the experienced CSK brigade.
Rahul's risk-free 63 came off 52 balls with the help of seven fours and a six as he shared a 61-run stand with fellow opener Mayank Agarwal (26) and then raised a 58-run partnership with Nicholas Pooran (33 off 17).
KXIP looked set for a bigger total but both Pooran and Rahul were dismissed by pacer Shardul Thakur off successive balls in the 18th over.
CSK, like their rivals, also got to a solid start with openers -- Du Plessis and Watson -- creaming off 60 runs in the Powerplay overs.
They did not exactly set the field on fire but an effective stroke play helped them begin the chase in right earnest.
The Australian-Protea duo blended caution with aggression, picking the right deliveries to attack. They raised the team hundred in the 10th over.
Watson got to his fifty with consecutive boundaries off Chris Jordan while Du Plessis raised his own with a single off the same bowler.
With Nothing working for KXIP, Watson and Du Plessis only became more dominant as the game progressed.
Earlier, Rahul and Agarwal were cautious. No lofted shot was played till the last over of the Powerplay with the two batsmen preferring to drive along the ground. It was also because Deepak Chahar and Sam Curran hardly pitched it short.
Even if Agarwal and Rahul opened their arms it was to slap the balls outside the off stump, when there was enough room to do that.
CSK captain MS Dhoni introduced spin in the seventh over with Ravindra Jadeja, who created a chance too but Agarwal's hit fell just short of a diving Du Plessis.
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla succeeded in getting the breakthrough when Agarwal pulled one straight to Curran. The openers added 61 runs in 8.1 overs.
Mandeep Singh, playing his first game of the season, joined his skipper and made an impact immediately. He creamed off two sixes off Chawla in the 11th over to start the fireworks.
Jadeja soon got rid of dangerous-looking Mandeep, who scored 27 off 16 balls.
Rahul, who had adopted a risk-free approach till then, completed his half-century with a six off Thakur and followed that up with a four. Nicholas Pooran too looked for boundaries as KXIP began the acceleration.
The West Indian hit three sixes in his short 33-run knock, which ended while looking for another big shot off Thakur. He added 58 runs with Rahul, who was out next ball, caught behind. It was Dhoni's 100th catch in IPL.