Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the two bottom-placed teams, will come face to face in the 18th match of IPL 2020 at Dubai, in the evening game on Sunday.
Both Punjab and CSK have failed to make a significant impact in the tournament so far, with just one win and three losses in four games. Punjab struggled in their chase of 192 against Mumbai, and were handed a 48-run defeat.
Punjab have been suffering in IPL 2020 owing to their over-dependence on openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul. In the last match, both had an off-day, and the team couldn’t recover from the double blow.
As for Chennai, they went down by seven runs to SRH, despite needing only 165 to win. CSK’s batting hasn’t taken off at all in this edition as yet, and the results have reflected the same.
With CSK and KXIP keen to make an impact before its too late, let’s take a look at three-player battles that can have a bearing on the match outcome.
#1. Mayank Agarwal vs Deepak Chahar
KXIP opener Mayank Agarwal has been in fascinating form in IPL 2020 so far. He made a blazing 89 from 60 balls against Delhi, and then smashed a superb hundred against Rajasthan, needing only 50 balls for his 106. Unfortunately, both knocks were in vain as the opposition emerged victorious. However, no one can dispute the quality of the two innings. Agarwal was looking in control against Mumbai as well before being knocked over by Jasprit Bumrah.
Deepak Chahar has been CSK’s most incisive bowler by some distance. He has kept things extremely tight, forcing batsmen to go after his good deliveries and commit mistakes. In four matches, Chahar has five wickets to his name at a strike rate of 19.20 and an economy rate of just over 8. The numbers might not look outstanding, but what they don’t tell you is how unlucky Chahar has been for CSK. Catches have been dropped off his bowling, and edges have not been spotted. With his nagging accuracy, he should pose a challenge to Agarwal.
#2. Faf du Plessis vs Mohammed Shami
Former South African skipper Faf du Plessis has been Chennai’s most consistent batsman. Du Plessis began the tournament with a fine half-century in the triumph against Mumbai before dazzling his way to 72 from 37 in the loss against Royals. However, with CSK losing their way, du Plessis’ scores have also become smaller. Even so, he remains CSK’s main hope in the batting department. With Shane Watson struggling, Chennai will look up to du Plessis to provide the team with a good start.
Opening the innings, du Plessis will be up against the pace and guile of Mohammed Shami. The KXIP pacer has stood tall for the franchise even as the results haven’t come their way. In four matches, Shami has already claimed eight wickets at a strike rate of 11.25 and an economy rate of under 8, and is the joint leading wicket-taker in IPL 2020 thus far. Shami can be expensive at times as he tries to work away at the batsman. At the same time, he also has the knack of picking up crucial scalps. Du Plessis is definitely a wicket Shami will be targeting on Sunday.
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#3. Ambati Rayudu vs Ravi Bishnoi
This can be termed as the battle of the underdogs. It was Ambati Rayudu who got CSK’s campaign in IPL 2020 off to a flying start, smashing 71 from 48 in the man of the match-winning effort in the tournament opener against Mumbai Indians. Unfortunately for CSK, Rayudu got injured and missed the next couple of games. By the time he returned for the contest against the Sunrisers, CSK had dug themselves into a bit of a hole with some ragged performances all round. Rayudu has the experience to handle pressure, and CSK would want him to play a role in their revival.
Rayudu loves going after spinners. And, even though Ravi Bishnoi is only in his debut season, he has already made an impact. The promising leggie finished with impressive figures of 1 for 22 in his first match, keeping the dangerous Rishabh Pant quiet, and then dismissing him. Against RCB, he was the standout bowler with 3 for 32 as Virat Kohli’s men were rolled over for 109. Despite his inexperience, Bishnoi seems to be gifted with a smart cricketing brain, and has a good understanding of match situations. He should give Rayudu some food for thought if the two cross paths.Published 04 Oct 2020, 16:04 IST