There is just the one match in the Indian Premier League on Sunday and it comes from the Brabourne Stadium where the champions Chennai Super Kings go in search of a first win of the season when they take on the Punjab Kings.
Chennai have lost their opening two matches for the first time in their history and they will be eager to avoid a third straight loss to open up their title defence. The Punjab Kings will be out to put a heavy defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders right.
Chennai Super Kings
The Chennai Super Kings have lost a match having failed with the bat this season and they have lost one having delivered with the willow but then being found out with the ball so they have one or two issues to solve even this early in the campaign. They will be the first to point out that they have bowled second in both of their matches and that the dew hasn’t helped them one little bit but they aren’t exactly new to that situation.
This is clearly going to be a high scoring tournament so they need to ensure that they deliver with the bat more often than not and if their bowlers happen to help them out then that is an added bonus. The concern for the Super Kings will be how toothless their attack has looked. Admittedly they are missing Deepak Chahar but this is a franchise with no shortage of experience or talent who will be expecting much more from themselves.
The Punjab Kings laid a marker down for their season in their opening match when they overpowered the Royal Challengers Bangalore but they were unable to use the same tactics to get the better of the Kolkata Knight Riders in their second match. I admire their attacking intent with the bat. It is plainly obvious that you are going to have to score huge totals if you are to going to go deep in this tournament but you still need to use some brains and the Punjab Kings shown no nous in that defeat to the Knight Riders at all.
I get the need for going big to get par scores and above but sometimes you just need to take the heat out of the contest for a couple of overs rather than swing from the hip and get yourself in a pile of hurt. While that lack of brains is an issue a bigger issue is that they can’t seem to take wickets with the ball in hand. They only have six in their opening two matches and got smoked by Andre Russell the other night. That is definitely going to need to improve if they are to go deep.
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Moeen Ali looked a million dollars with the bat the other day but dropped a crucial catch early in the innings. Chennai Super Kings need their all-rounder to deliver in all three facets of the game to give them a good chance of getting off the mark.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa has hit the ground running in this tournament with two brutal cameos. If he can take those cameos and turn them into substantial scores then it will put the Punjab Kings in a very dominant position so that is his next task.
The two matches to be held at the Brabourne Stadium so far this season have been littered with boundaries and I’m not expecting that to change here. These two bowling units are struggling to take wickets and they are struggling to contain sides as a result of that. Punjab Kings have conceded more than 200 once this season and were well on their way to going that far again against Kolkata had the target not been reached.
Chennai Super Kings have just shipped 211 in their latest outing and with this being a night match we know there is going to be a lot of dew around this game. It is pretty clear that the Punjab Kings are going to swing merrily with the bat in this tournament regardless of whether it gets them into trouble or not and they have Jonny Bairstow to come in and help in that regard here. Chennai have some adventure at the top of their innings too and on a ground where the opening two matches have yielded 49 and 59 boundaries I expect over 42.5 to land once again.
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