Two sides reeling at the bottom of the table, Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings will go toe-to-toe versus each other at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. While both sides have a win and three losses next to their name, they have, however, endured completely different journeys.
Kings XI Punjab - L L W L
Cricket is a game of fine margins and nothing defines the statement better than Kings XI Punjab’s run - or fortune - in this IPL so far. They could, as Rahul observed, so easily have been top of the table with 3 wins and just 1 loss, but them snatching defeat from the jaws of victory not once but twice means that they find themselves teetering at 7th. Like most sides this tournament, KXIP have a host of issues to solve, not least their death bowling. Come Sunday, they will be hoping to replicate the kind of performance they put up versus CSK’s bitter rivals, Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Chennai Super Kings - L L L W
“Age will catch up with CSK” has always been the general perception - it didn’t in 2018, it didn’t in 2019, but from what we’ve seen thus far in 2020, that observation might finally be coming to fruition. After a convincing win on the first day of the competition versus Mumbai, CSK have by some distance been the worst side in the entire tournament. They’ve lacked direction with the ball and intent with the bat and barring Sam Curran and Faf du Plessis, they seem to have no players committed or focussed to help the team notch up wins. They will need to play out of their skins to beat Punjab on Sunday, despite the latter reeling at 7th in the table.
Kings XI Punjab - KL Rahul
It is no surprise that Punjab’s only win of the season was propelled by their skipper and talisman Rahul, who, that game, batted the entire duration of 20 overs. The second-highest run-getter of the season, seven behind his good friend Mayank Agarwal, IPL 2020 has almost been ‘too easy’ for Rahul, who at times has thrown his wicket away due to his own callousness. Come Sunday, he will be eager to weed out those flaws, and a determined and focused Rahul could spell bad news for Chennai, who have already been at the receiving end of the wrath of many an Indian batsmen this season.
Chennai Super Kings - Faf du Plessis
That Faf has scored 104 runs more than any other Chennai player thus far this season is in itself a testament to how there has been daylight between the right-hander and the rest of the CSK batsmen. Averaging 65.00 in the first 4 games, du Plessis has been head and shoulders above the entire CSK batting unit and his intent and proficiency have been the only two attributes which have helped CSK preserve some dignity. On Friday, he threatened to take the game to SRH, bringing out scoops and striking back-to-back boundaries off Natarajan, but his innings was unfortunately cut short by an untimely run-out. Come Sunday, CSK’s hopes will yet again rest on the former Proteas skipper.
Kings XI Punjab - Mohammad Shami
Proud holder of the purple cap with 8 wickets in 4 games, Mohammad Shami has been a revelation this season. Often chastised for being a non-adaptable T20 bowler, Shami, this season, has brought to fore a completely different avatar of himself, using Test-match lines and lengths to tame batsmen, who’ve had no answer to his jaffas. What’s been impressive about Shami is his economy rate, which has been a miserly 7.86, despite playing one of his 4 games in Sharjah. CSK’s struggling top-order might just be the feast Shami’s been craving for.
Chennai Super Kings - Deepak Chahar
The king of powerplay bowling in the IPL, Deepak Chahar endured a rough start to the season but showed signs of getting back to his best in CSK’s previous game versus SRH. Through a combination of metronomic accuracy and exquisite swing bowling, the right-armer dismissed Jonny Bairstow through a dream set-up, and come Sunday, he would be hoping to replicate the same. Chahar’s performance in the powerplay will be crucial for the Super Kings, for the simple fact that KXIP have been over-reliant on their openers, Agarwal and Rahul.
Venue: Dubai International Stadium, Dubai
When to watch: Oct 4, 7.30 PM IST
Where to watch: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (in India)