Match 12 of VIVO IPL 2018 will be a battle of the Kings. The Chennai Super Kings, who have had a four-day break since their thrilling win in Chennai, will take on Kings XI Punjab, who lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore in their most-recent outing.
Kings XI Punjab have one win and one loss so far; they sauntered to a win in their season opener against the Delhi Daredevils, before suffering a defeat at the hands of RCB. Despite the loss, one expects they will not make too many changes to the team that took the field on Friday night. The team got off to a blazing start, but suffered setbacks after losing wickets in clusters; that’s something they will try to avoid.
CSK have now clinched wins from the clutches of their opponents twice now, and they will want to put in a much improved performance. In the opener against Mumbai Indians, Bravo’s end-overs pyrotechnics took them across the line, while against the Kolkata Knight Riders at home, it was Sam Billings who did the rescue act. CSK have been forced to reorganise; first Kedar Jadhav suffered an injury and was ruled out of the rest of the season, and now Suresh Raina has been ruled out for at least two matches. The injury to Raina could mean an opening for Murali Vijay – who is now fully fit and available for selection, and possibly a move down the order for Ambati Rayudu.
15 April 2018, 2000Hrs (IST)
IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
KL Rahul has absolutely creamed it in his two innings so far this season; the Karnataka opener hasn’t had to bludgeon the ball – which is not his game – but instead has caused plenty of damage primarily by timing the ball. He has improvised once in a while, but he has middled the ball brilliantly and KXIP will hope he can carry forward such form.
Aaron Finch didn’t have a memorable debut for KXIP; he was dismissed for a first-ball duck in the previous match, and will therefore be keen to get cracking. Even though the aggregate runs in his last four innings stands at 29, the Australian will be feeling confident, having scored three hundreds so far this year – two of them in ODIs and one in the Sheffield Shield.
Chennai Super Kings will be at a massive disadvantage with their mainstay Suresh Raina being side-lined with an injury. Raina has been synonymous with Brand CSK, and no player has had a bigger influence on the team’s fortunes than the left-hander. In his absence, CSK will want Shane Watson – who has looked good in the two innings so far, Sam Billings, and captain MS Dhoni to step up and make big scores.
The two spinners in the KXIP ranks have been outstanding so far in the tournament. Ravichandran Ashwin has used his leg-breaks and off-breaks effectively, while the Afghan teenage sensation Mujeeb ur Rahman has bamboozled several experienced batsmen. KXIP will need the pair to continue keeping the lids on the visitors batsmen.
Team Head to Head
Overall: Matches – 17, Kings XI Punjab won – 7, Chennai Super Kings won – 10
The teams have maintained a 100% record against each other in alternate seasons. In 2012, KXIP got the better of CSK on both occasions. In 2013, CSK prevailed in both the matches, while in 2014, KXIP cleaned up CSK thrice en route the final. Finally, in 2015 CSK clinched wins at home and on the road.
Chennai Super Kings have so far played a total of 134 matches in the IPL; Suresh Raina has been a part of their XI in each one of those matches. Sunday’s match will be the first time his name will not figure in the CSK playing XI.
Murali Vijay has represented both the Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab; in 25 matches for KXIP in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he scored 704 runs, while in 64 matches for CSK (2009-2013) he scored 1600 runs.
Aaron Finch will have fond memories of the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, it was at this venue he made his debut for Australia Under-19s.
The player with the record for the most IPL wickets taken while playing under a captain is Ravichandran Ashwin; he took 99 wickets playing under MS Dhoni’s captaincy. In this match, they will be opposing captains.
KXIP will remain at home after this match, but will only take the field on April 19 when they host Sunrisers Hyderabad. The CSK boys will enjoy a four-day break before they make their first appearance in their adopted home ground; on April 20, they take on the Rajasthan Royals.