Chennai Super Kings don’t change. Instead, they keep picking their best players, wait for the moment it all clicks and then just keep on winning. But what if the team actually needs change? Like a wicket-taking spinner, someone opposition batsmen feel they have to respect, someone like Imran Tahir. It will bring down the targets they have to chase, helping fix another of their issues – a woeful opening partnership – but the downside there is the 41-year old leggie offers very little with the bat and not that much in the field. Even so, how long can Super Kings afford a spin bowling line-up with the second-worst economy rate (9.34) and the second-worst average (38.71) in this tournament?
Kings XI’s concerns seem clearer. Their batting line-up is filled with match-winners but it is undermined by poor death bowling resources. Chris Jordan could fix that, but he’ll need time. Fixing holes in the XI helps, but to win and keep winning, you have to make fewer mistakes. Super Kings, with both ball and bat, and Kings XI, with ball mostly, haven’t quite got to that level yet.
In the news
Stephen Fleming backed Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav to find their form after Super Kings’ last defeat, which means there are unlikely to be personnel changes.
If Kings XI go with a six-bowler strategy, KL Rahul wants one of them to be an allrounder. Jordan’s good at whacking it. He could be in contention.
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Kedar Jadhav, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Sam Curran, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Shardul Thakur, 11 Piyush Chawla
Kings XI Punjab: 1 KL Rahul (capt & wk), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Nicholas Pooran, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Mandeep Singh, 6 Sarfaraz Khan/ K Gowtham, 7 Chris Jordan/ Mujeeb ur Rahman, 8 M Ashwin/ Ishan Porel, 9 Ravi Bishnoi, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Mohammed Shami
Mayank Agarwal vs fast bowling in IPL 2020 is a revealing study of contrasts. Overall, he has made 81 runs off 62 balls with one dismissal, but filter it and look at his stats against incoming deliveries and a weakness emerges. The hard-hitting, room-loving, off-side dominant batsman has made only 19 runs off 27 incoming balls and lost his wicket to it as well in his last game. Super Kings should match him up against swing bowlers Deepak Chahar and Sam Curran and ask them to focus on attacking this weakness.
Dwayne Bravo, in addition to his death-bowling ability, has been brought in to hit the big ones. But Kings XI have a way to stop him. Sheldon Cottrell has a superb T20 record against Super Kings’ star allrounder: 27 runs off 30 balls and three dismissals.
Stats that matter
Super Kings’ biggest problem this season has been their opening partnership, which averages 13 and strikes at 96. They are the cause for the team falling behind so early in chases and forcing the middle order to delay power-hitting for fear of getting bowled out.
Kings XI have no such issues with KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal are averaging 69 as a partnership, while also striking at 157. It’s worst vs best tomorrow.
Sam Curran has a strike rate of 268 in this IPL, which is the highest for a batsman with at least 50 runs this season. Super Kings will want to find more time for him in the middle. Opener, perhaps? (He has two fifties and strikes at 147 in the position in all T20s)
Sheldon Cottrell has been brilliant for Kings XI in the powerplay. He has taken four wickets in four games, the most for any bowler in IPL 2020 in the first six overs. He will be instrumental in getting the early wickets against Super Kings – a team that doesn’t start well.
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