As the scenarios to the playoffs heat up, Chennai Super Kings who are already out of the tournament can play spoilsport. However, this is a virtual qualifier for Kings XI Punjab who lost their previous match against Rajasthan Royals.
In the reverse leg, it was a forgettable match for Punjab as Chennai ran away with a 10-wicket victory. In the last five meetings between the two, Chennai has the upper hand. But, Punjab are on a roll with five wins in their last six matches. On the other hand, Chennai are also on the up with back-to-back victories.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Matches – 22 | KXIP – 13 Wins | SRH – 9 Wins
Last 5 matches: CSK – 3 Wins | KXIP – 2 Wins
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms we come up with six different teams that could fetch crucial points
At the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, it has been a tale of two halves. Overall, an average of 164 runs has been scored at the venue in 18 matches played. Comparatively, among the three venues, in Abu Dhabi, the average 1st innings score is the lowest.
However, as mentioned earlier, the first nine matches, on an average 170 runs were scored in the first innings. But, in the last nine matches, an average score of 158 has been made in the first innings. Though the average has gone down, the bowlers have found it hard to pick up wickets in the second half as compared to the first. In the last nine matches, a wicket has cost 32.9 runs as compared to 27.3 in the first nine.
In the 18 matches played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, the pacers have been most dominant among the wickets with 67.6 percent of the wickets as compared to 32.4 percent by spinners. Both teams though will slightly be on the back foot as, both of them are reliant on their spinners, especially Chennai.
In Abu Dhabi, among the bowling types, the leggies have been the most successful ones, whether in terms of economy or striking early. They have picked up 44 wickets at a ball/wicket ratio of 24.1, the quickest among all bowling types. The leggies are the only bowling type to concede less than 7.5 this season at the venue.
As for the team combination, five batsmen including the wicket-keepers, two allrounders and four bowlers could be the preferable one. Punjab’s top-order has come good throughout this season and Chennai’s allrounders have been exceptional.
Undoubtedly KL Rahul, Chris Gayle and Ruturaj Gaikwad are sure-shots among the batsmen. Nicholas Pooran with his cameos at the end could fetch points. One among Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson and Mandeep Singh could be the fourth-choice batsman. A confirmation on Mayank Agarwal’s fitness is yet to come out. Hence, his selection is preferable after the toss.
The young allrounder from England, Sam Curran, has been one of the silver-linings for Chennai this season, which is why he could be the first-choice allrounder. Ravindra Jadeja may not have had a good season with the ball in hand, but for sure his batting has been a treat to watch.
As for bowlers, both teams have struggled in this department. Still, Mohammed Shami has been the best of the lot. Thus, he could be the first-choice bowler. Chris Jordan, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi and Murugan Ashwin have all been seasoned campaigners too.
There could be a few interesting match-ups too.
Sam Curran vs Chris Jordan
An English face-off could be on the cards as Curran bats in the latter part of the innings and Jordan is one of the specialists in this phase. Jordan may be their prime bowler, but Curran has a good record against his national teammate in T20s. In two innings he has scored at a strike rate of 190 without being dismissed.
Chris Gayle vs Ravindra Jadeja
It is a well-known fact that Gayle is brutal against left-arm orthodox and legspinners in any limited-overs format. Against Jadeja, it is over the roof. In four innings, Gayle has got out to him once but, has struck at a monstrous strike rate of 242.9.
KL Rahul vs Mitchell Santner
In this competition it is just not about brawn, both Rahul and Mitchell Santner are brainy. However, Rahul has had the better of Santner in the five innings these two have faced each other. Rahul has scored at a strike rate of 166.7 while Santner is yet to dismiss him.
KL RAHUL: If KL Rahul plays, Rahul scores. There are very few in the business who are as good as Rahul. The Punjab skipper is the leading run-getter in the league with 641 runs at 58.27 and will be the player to watch out for.
As far as fantasy points are concerned, Rahul has garnered 873 points this season - the most for any player. The ability to deposit the white Kookaburra into the stands and also to turn over the strike makes him a prime contender for your fantasy captain.
Our Criclytics player projection predicts, Rahul could score 17-40 runs in Match 53 against Chennai
CHRIS GAYLE: Chris Gayle is the greatest T20 cricketer ever. Period. The southpaw scored 99 in the previous game against the Rajasthan Royals, where he pummelled six fours and eight sixes. On his way to 99, Gayle achieved a feat which probably will never be broken. A 1000 sixes in T20s. Get this - Gayle has scored 13572 runs in T20s out of which 10,146 have come in boundaries (1035 - 4s & 1001 - 6s). About the impact he's made this season - KXIP have won 5 out of the 6 games he's played, the marauder has scored 276 runs at 46 and struck them at 144 runs per hundred deliveries.
Our Criclytics player projection predicts, Gayle could score 16-39 runs in Match 53 against Chennai.
RUTURAJ GAIKWAD: It has certainly been a massive turnaround for the Chennai opener in the last two games. Starting off with three single-digit scores, which included two ducks and then coming back with two back-to-back half-centuries, speaks highly about his temperament. In the last two matches for Chennai, the opener has contributed 41.7% of the runs scored. This is certainly one of the reasons why he is an X-factor against Punjab.
Our Criclytics player projection predicts, Gaikwad could score 16-39 runs in Match 53 against Punjab.
NICHOLAS POORAN: The West Indian may not have got that many matches, but in the limited innings he has played, he has proved his mettle. Pooran has scored 351 runs this season at a strike rate of 173.8. His strike rate is the best among batsmen who have scored over 250 runs in this tournament. On top of it, the 25 sixes he has hit this season is the second-most after Sanju Samson (26). Looking at the bowling options of Chennai, even if they play three spinners, two are left-arm spinners and one legspinner. Pooran against both bowling types has struck at 193.9 this season, which makes him a certain X-factor in their match against Chennai.
Our Criclytics player projection predicts, Pooran could score 10-27 runs in Match 53 against Chennai.