These two sides, still trying to crack their perfect XIs, with their captains going through rough personal form, would be entering the game hoping for a better second half in IPL 2022.
It’s Game No. 8 for both Chennai Super Kings and Punjab Kings, who have won just two and three matches this season respectively and are just above Mumbai Indians on the points table. They have played each other earlier this season, and things have changed since: Kings, after that win, have gone on to lose three out of four matches, while Super Kings have posted two wins in four games after starting the season with four straight losses.
Super Kings would probably be the ones coming into this match with more confidence. A high-performing bowling line-up, MS Dhoni turning back the clock at the finish, a last-ball win… their previous match had it all. Whereas Kings are coming in on the back of a nine-wicket drubbing at the hands of Delhi Capitals in a game where they were bowled out for 115.
Kings’ batting vs Super Kings’ bowling in the powerplay could be an interesting subplot in this game. Super Kings’ powerplay bowling has vastly improved in the last three matches: they had picked up just two wickets at an economy of 8.6 and an average of 103.5 in the first four matches; in the last three, they have picked up nine wickets at an economy of 6.7 and an average of 13.4 in this phase. Kings’ batters, meanwhile, have shone in the powerplay, with the second-best run rate of 9.52 among all teams this season in the phase, scoring 60-plus on three occasions.
However, Kings seem to lose the plot after the powerplay and have ended up losing wickets in clusters. They have lost the most wickets in the middle overs (29) and the second-most in the death overs. They have stuck to their attacking approach despite the collapses, as it seems to be their plan given their below-par bowling unit. They have been reliant on Liam Livingstone to do the heavy lifting for them in the middle overs, as was the case even during the earlier fixture between the two teams.
Super Kings are known for not tinkering too much with their playing XIs but made a tough call to drop the retained Moeen Ali for the last game. Kings also dropped Odean Smith for Nathan Ellis in the previous match, and might even look to make big changes in their batting department – should they get back Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who gave them solidity in the first two wins, for the out-of-sorts Jonny Bairstow?
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Robin Uthappa, 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Shivam Dube, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Ravindra Jadeja (capt), 7 Dwayne Bravo, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Dwaine Pretorius, 10 Maheesh Theekshana, 11 Mukesh Choudhary
Super Kings can bring in Dwaine Pretorius to bowl to the dangerous Livingstone. Livingstone has been dismissed twice by the South African quick in four meetings and strikes only at 87 against him. In the previous fixture between these teams, Pretorius bowled a tight eighth over when Livingstone and Shikhar Dhawan were going great guns, scoring at nearly 12 an over, so Super Kings might fancy giving him an extra over to bowl in the first ten.