Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings will vie for two points – albeit for varying reasons – in Match 55 of IPL 2019.

Even a massive win will not be enough to take KXIP to the playoffs; what a win will do though, is help them avoid the wooden spoon. KXIP have five wins from thirteen matches, and a win will definitely take them to the seventh position in the eight-team standings.

The Super Kings will ideally want to register a win in this match because it will give the team some confidence heading into the business end and because it guarantees them a first-place finish – which comes with the added incentive of a second crack at qualifying for the final.

Kings XI Punjab play with five only five specialist batsmen, and it therefore becomes important that one of those who bats in the top three bats deep. The openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle are the team’s top run-getters this season, though neither has produced that one memorable innings. Mayank Agarwal has struck the ball brilliantly; his aggregate of 325 runs and strike-rate of 142.5 are his best in an IPL season. Given the form he has been in, the KXIP one-drop batsman will be disappointed that he has not been able to carry on and post more than two half-centuries this season. All three batsmen have one more opportunity to sign off with a big score.

Despite their successful campaign so far, there is a glaring shortcoming in the Chennai Super Kings line-up; their average opening partnership this season is 19.80, and their openers have managed to post a partnership of 50 or more only once in 13 matches. Heading to the playoffs, CSK will want their openers – Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson – to put on a much-improved performance.

MS Dhoni has consistently churned out runs this season and is CSK’s man-in-form, while Suresh Raina has chipped in with useful scores every now and then. The CSK captain has scored in excess of 350 runs this season at a strike-rate of 142.63 and his performance has masked the failures of the batsmen who have batted before him. Dhoni has the opportunity to add to his tally against his favourite opponent; he has scored more half-centuries against KXIP than against any other team, averages 58.50 against them – which is his highest average against any team, has a strike-rate of 158.11 against them – which is his highest against any team, and has 21 dismissals against KXIP – which is the most he has against any team.

Head to Head in Indian Premier League

Overall: Matches – 20, Kings XI Punjab – 8, Chennai Super Kings – 12.

Since 2015: Matches – 5, Kings XI Punjab – 1, Chennai Super Kings – 4.

Team news
Kings XI Punjab:

Ashwin and Co. could give opportunities to the non-regulars with them failing to advance to the next round. The likes of Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Harpreet Brar, Ankit Rajpoot could get a game. Mohammed Shami had a small niggle in his neck muscle last game, although he did come back to bowl an over. With the World Cup in mind, he could be rested.

Probable XI: Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh/Karun Nair/Sarfaraz Khan, Nicholas Pooran(w), Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin(c), Murugan Ashwin/Harpreet Brar, Ankit Rajpoot, Arshdeep Singh, Andrew Tye

Chennai Super Kings

One definite change CSK have been making in away games is replacing Harbhajan Singh with a pacer. It is likely that they will stick to that formula as the pitch in Mohali is not known to assist the spinners. The team has qualified for the playoffs, but with a bit of uncertainty about finishing in the top two, it is highly unlikely they will rest key players to test their bench strength.

Probable XI: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni(w/c), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh/Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir

If the Chennai Super Kings are victorious in this contest, they will head back to Chennai to compete in Qualifier 1 scheduled to be played on May 7; if they finish third in the table, they will compete in the Eliminator, scheduled to be played in Visakhapatnam on May 8.


Computer engineer bit by the sports bug.

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