IPL 2019, Match 18, CSK vs KXIP: Match preview, key players and predicted playing XI
In the battle of the Kings, the northern kings KXIP will visit the den of the southern Super Kings for the 18th fixture of IPL 2019. The match will take place at the MA Chidambaram (Chepauk) Stadium in Chennai on Saturday, April 5.
Head-to-head overall stats: The CSK vs KXIP head-to-head record has seen them playing 20 IPL matches, with the men from Chennai leading 12-8.
Head-to-head in MA Chidambaram Stadium: In the five head-to-head games played at Chepauk, the hosts marginally lead by the margin of 3-2.
Pitch report: The usual slow and spin-friendly track will be a good test for the batsmen, and KXIP will have to be wary of Chennai's army of spinners.
The CSK perspective
CSK faced their first defeat of the 2019 season against Mumbai Indians as they lost by 37 runs. They will be anxious to make a strong comeback at the Chepauk.
Key batsmen - MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav
Kedar Jadhav was CSK's sole batting performer against MI, with 58 runs from 54 balls; the next best batsman Suresh Raina could only manage 16 runs, which itself tells the story of the previous game. However, the team will expect a strong comeback from their key batters including MS Dhoni and Shane Watson.
Meanwhile, Ambati Rayudu has not been able to justify his spot in the playing XI and was sent back for a golden duck against MI. The management might ask him to warm the benches in the next game with Sam Billings or Faf du Plessis being first choice replacements.
Key bowlers - Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar and Harbhajan Singh
Imran Tahir and Dwayne Bravo are the team's leading wicket-takers with seven wickets, but Bravo has been ruled out for two weeks due to injury. In Bravo's absence, a large chunk of the wicket-taking responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Tahir.
Tahir along with Deepak Chahar are likely to pose the major threat to KXIP. With the Chepauk pitch expected to assist spinners, the skipper might recall Harbhajan Singh for this fixture too.
Harbhajan played a key roke in CSK's tournament opener against RCB, and might replace Shardul Thakur in the playing XI.
Expected playing XI
MS Dhoni (C & W), Ravindra Jadeja, Scott Kuggelejin, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur / Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Sam Billings and Kedar Jadhav.
The KXIP perspective
The Kings XI are having a fabulous run this season and have secured three wins out of four games. However, Chris Gayle was rested in the last fixture and his inclusion in the next game is still under the scanner.
Key batsmen - Lokesh Rahul, David Miller and Sarfaraz Khan
In the absence of Chris Gayle, KL Rahul will have to bear the additional responsibility at the top. The onus will be on him to provide a strong opening wicket stand with Sam Curran, who did well to score a 20-run cameo after being promoted to the top.
The middle order duties will have to be borne by three in-form batsmen - David Miller, Sarfaraz Khan and Mayank Agarwal. All have been among the runs in the previous games and are expected to exert a significant impact with the bat.
Meanwhile, in case Gayle is declared fit, Mandeep Singh might be asked to make way for the Universe Boss.
Key bowlers - Sam Curran, Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin
Sam Curran claimed a match defining four-fer against the Delhi Capitals, which included his maiden IPL hat-trick. The all-rounder has certainly raised the bar and will be backed to make a similar impact against CSK.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Shami (five wickets) and Hardus Viljoen (four wickets) have been among the regular strikers for the visitors and will be Ashwin's key weapons during the powerplays. Apart from these, Murugan Ashwin and the skipper himself can be match-turners on the Chepauk's spin-friendly pitch.
Expected playing XI
Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, KL Rahul (W), Sam Curran, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh and Hardus Viljoen.