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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 17 April 2014 - 07:32pm IST

Preview: Match 3 – CSK v KXIP

Abu Dhabi set to host King size battle

What

It will be a battle of the Kings when two-time champions and IPL 2013 runners-up Chennai Super Kings square off against Kings XI Punjab in Match 3 of Pepsi IPL 2014.

The MS Dhoni-led CSK are perhaps the most consistent outfit in the IPL; they have contested in the Playoffs in every one of the six seasons so far, have won the championship on two occasions and finished second on three other occasions. The team owners exercised the option of retaining five key players prior to the 2014 Pepsi IPL Player Auction – MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo, apart from Suresh Raina. As a result, they have maintained the nucleus of the team that has done well over the years. With a calm leader in MS Dhoni on the field and the serene Stephen Fleming managing the players off it, one can be sure that CSK will be best equipped for battle.

KXIP have never made it to the final four since the inaugural season of the IPL. The franchise owners and team management have made some very good buys at the 2014 Pepsi IPL Player Auction and they will be hoping the players they have chosen will be able to deliver the goods.

When

Wednesday, April 18, 2014, 4 pm IST

Where

Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

The Protagonists


If it is Twenty20 and Chennai Super Kings are the topic of discussion, chances are that Raina’s name will prominently feature in the conversation. The southpaw has featured in every one of the franchise’s matches and has possibly contributed more to the team’s success than any other player. Among the recent acquisitions, Samuel Badree and Brendon McCullum will be the ones to look forward to. There is a good chance that either Faf du Plessis or Brendon McCullum will make it to the playing XI at the expense of Dwayne Bravo, who is said to be nursing an injury he suffered in the recently-concluded ICC World T20.

Kings XI Punjab were immensely impressive in their choice of players at the 2014 Pepsi IPL Player Auction. Along with David Miller and Manan Vohra – who they retained – they have a good mix of Indian youngsters, experienced hands and overseas players with proven credentials. The one player to keep an eye on is Virender Sehwag, who has more than just one reason to deliver the goods; apart from throwing his hat back into the ring as he aims to regain a spot in the Indian team, the Delhi Dasher will also be keen to prove that he still has a lot to offer even if he is no longer the swashbuckling opener of the past.

Since rediscovering his form in IPL 2013, Mitchell Johnson has steamrolled opponents in various formats. He has bowled quick, has been accurate and incisive. And in a format where he has to bowl only four overs, expect him to go full throttle.

Previous Meetings

Including their two victories last season, Chennai Super Kings have an 8-4 win-loss record against Kings XI Punjab.

Trivia

Chennai Super Kings’ Suresh Raina has so far featured in 99 IPL matches. If he takes the field in this match, he will become the first player to bag 100 IPL caps.

Suresh Raina is the top run-getter in the IPL with 2802 runs.


What Next

Kings XI Punjab will be seen in action next at Sharjah on April 20 when they square off against the Rajasthan Royals. Chennai Super Kings will hit the turf next on April 21 when they take on the Delhi Daredevils in the late evening match.

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