New Delhi:A confident Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will aim to extend their winning momentum when they face Kings XI Punjab in Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the PCA stadium here on Sunday.
The southern outfit who have made a comeback in the cash-rich league after serving a two-year suspension, roared in their previous two encounters and once again proved why they are one of the serious contenders for the title.
In their campaign opener against three-time champion Mumbai Indians, Dwayne Bravo and Kedar Jadhav pulled off a thrilling last over win for Chennai.
Chasing 166 against Mumbai, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side was once reeling at 75/5 and victory seemed a distant dream for the yellow brigade. However, Bravo’s scintillating 30-ball 68 put them on the brink of the win and later in the last over Jadhav snatched a win from the jaws of defeat.
In the second match, Chennai was handed a challenging 203-run target by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their first home game at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Winning the toss, Dhoni opted to bowl first and opined his side love to chase, a statement which was hence proved right by his boys.
CSK was off to a flying start with Shane Watson (42) and Ambati Rayudu (39) adding 75 runs for the opening wicket. With just everything going CSK’s way, KKR’s spinners- Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine striked to bring back their side in the contest.
With Suresh Raina (14) and Dhoni (25) felling cheaply, CSK’s foriegn buy- Sam Billings took command and smashed 56 off 23 to keep the hosts on hunt.
Finally, Ravindra Jadeja’s six off the final delivery set up an another nail-biting win for CSK.
However, Raina will miss Sunday’s clash after being ruled out of the side’s next two matches because of a calf injury, which could be a thing of worry for the CSK management.
On the other hand, coming on the back of a disappointing batting performance, hosts Punjab will be looking reverse the performance in this match.
For a win at home against the in-form Dhoni’s side, Punjab’s batting department needs to fire. Other than Lokesh Rahul, star batsmen Yuvraj Singh, Mayank Agarwal have struggled to get runs.
The team management will have high expectations from Aaron Finch, who missed the opening match against Delhi Daredevils and failed with the bat against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Punjab’s spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman has surprised the batsmen with his deliveries and will once again try to exploit the home conditions. The hosts have a bowling depth with the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Mujeeb, Axar Patel and Andrew Tye.
The Ashwin-led side could bring in Manoj Tiwary to the middle order and Mohit Sharma’s expensive performance could axe him from the playing eleven.
Overall, Chennai will once again be the favourites over Punjab, after winning the last three encounters the two sides have met.