Kings XI Punjab will host Chennai Super Kings as the teams play their last games in the group stage on May 5th at 4:00 pm IST. This match is relatively less impactful on the playoffs qualification scenario as Punjab's dreams of making it to the playoffs were dashed after 2 consecutive losses to SRH and KKR respectively.
CSK, meanwhile will be looking to close out this season on a high and remain in the top two in the points table so that they get another crack at making it to the finals in case they fail in the first chance.
This game may be inconsequential to teams like KKR because Punjab's chances are limited and CSK are on the top of the table. but stranger things have happened in cricket.
On a great batting surface with plenty of superstars playing in the game, expect nothing less than a game filled with passion, energy and some brilliant player battles.
Now, let's take a look at who has the upper hand in this contest.
If KXIP bat first
Punjab have seen their campaign slip out of their hands twice now as this season was a repeat of the previous edition. Starting strong, Ashwin's men succumbed to the constant team rotation and instability.
The home team's batting has faltered in the last couple of games and their middle order has come to the test and while they do have blazing power, they are unable to stick it out and play a big innings. However, their out-of-form openers are bound to get back and give a final something to their home fans who have been supporting them irrespective of the results.
In their last home game, Punjab can easily make 180-200 runs but their bowling must be on top if they want to defend any total against a side like CSK who have few of the biggest match-winners in the game.
If CSK bat first
CSK have made it a habit of starting slow and piling on the runs during the death overs and their in-form middle order will look to do it once more against the Punjab bowlers who are pretty low on confidence. They will want Shane Watson to make some runs in this game and get him back in form for the playoffs.
MSD has been masterful in both setting and chasing down scores and his captaincy skills far outweigh those which Ashwin possesses. With a lot of firepower and a long tail in store, CSK can easily make 190-200 runs if they bat first.
Who will win?
Kings XI Punjab's pride is at stake and they'll certainly want to do something for their home fans. But CSK's might and MS Dhoni's tactics can prove too much to the downbeat Punjab side and with a top of the table on offer, CSK seem favorites to win this game though Punjab do stand a chance in front of their home crowd.Published 05 May 2019, 08:00 IST