IPL 2018, CSK vs KXIP: Who will win today's match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab?
It began on April 7 and 55 games later, we are finally at the end of the group stages of IPL 2018. CSK are in second place while KXIP is in seventh place on the IPL 2018 points table and both teams need very different things going into the encounter in Pune.
While CSK will need a win to gain some momentum, KXIP know that even a win might not be enough in the grand scheme of things to help them get through. But both teams will want to win and end on a high.
Here is a look at what might happen in the game between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab.:
Date: 20th May 2018
Venue: Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
Time: 8.00 PM IST
If Chennai Super Kings bat first
Predicted Score - 170+
Chennai Super Kings are through to the playoffs and need to lose by 76+ runs or with over 50 balls to spare if they are to not finish in second place and play SRH in the qualifier. As the final game of the group stage, CSK's equation is simple, win and they not only secure a top two spot but also probably top spot. Lose and they still finish in the top two.
But after how critical MS Dhoni has been of CSK's bowling in the last few games, it is unlikely that they will let themselves lose or even lose so badly. For Ambati Rayudu it is an opportunity to get back in contention for the Orange Cap. Although he is in the fourth spot, he needs 77 to overtake Kane Williamson and have ownership of the cap going into the playoffs.
Shane Watson and MS Dhoni have been the other two players who have been amongst the runs this season and they will want to continue that into the playoffs. One player, who will definitely look to improve his form, it will be Suresh Raina.
He only has 330 runs so far this season and needs 20 more to continue his streak of scoring at least 350 in each season of the IPL.
The middle-order hasn't clicked in unison and that is a concern for CSK heading into the playoffs. But playing at home against a bowling attack that is unlikely to have one of their key weapons in Mujeeb, CSK will be looking to score at least 170.
If Kings XI Punjab bat first
Predicted Score - 170+
Whether Kings XI Punjab has even a realistic chance of making it through to the playoffs or not will depend on whether Mumbai Indians win their final game against Delhi Daredevils. If they do, the chances of KXIP going through are as good as over.
Irrespective of what happens in the first game on Sunday, KXIP only has themselves to blame if they don't go through to the playoffs, especially after the start that they had. KL Rahul has had the Orange Cap for much of the season and Andrew Tye is the current owner of the Purple Cap.
The problem has been the fact that apart from those two, no one has really done anything of note. Although Chris Gayle got off to a great start, he has struggled to reclaim the form he showed at the start. Karun Nair has got cameos but no real big scores and the rest of the middle-order has changed so much but no one has really done much.
Against a bowling attack that CSK boast of, which doesn't include any bowler in the top 15 in the race for the Purple Cap, KXIP should look to get an above par score. So they will be disappointed if they finish with anything less than 170, especially considering the form that Rahul is in.
While KKR winning their final game, CSK knows that anything barring a massive defeat will be enough for them to finish in the top two and seal a place in the qualifier against SRH.
Although Kings XI still have a mathematical chance of making it through, their season is as good as done. Although both teams rely so heavily on their batting, CSK has more in-form players. That coupled with the home advantage that they will enjoy will make them favorites going into the final game of the group stages.
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