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Chennai Super Kings have edge in bottom-of-table clash

MS Dhoni is no longer the captain of CSK, but CSK is all about Dhoni
MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni
File Photo

Our Bureau   |   Published 25.04.22, 01:16 AM

Inspired by none other than Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings will look to put another confident step forward when they clash with Punjab Kings in Mumbai on Monday.

Not many matches ago, Chennai were in the same boat as Mumbai Indians, stuck in a winless whirlpool which threatened to knock them out of the competition even before the half-way stage. But they have recovered somewhat, registering two wins. The last one, a thriller against Mumbai Indians, will definitely lift their sagging spirits further with Dhoni playing the match-winner.

Dhoni is no longer the captain of Chennai, but Chennai is all about Dhoni. And with him looking in good touch, the team will have a spring in their steps as they take on fellow-strugglers Punjab.

On paper, Punjab have more wins — three — than Chennai. But that’s half the truth. Fact is, the Mayank Agarwal-led team have lost three out of their last four matches.

Punjab’s main problem have been their batting. Even in their last game, against Delhi Capitals, they were bowled out for 115. Despite having some of the best batters, they have lost the plot in the middle overs. Mayank, since becoming the captain, has lost his run-scoring ways, Shikhar Dhawan hasn’t really set the ground on fire, Jonny Bairstow has looked in poor form and the talented Sharukh Khan has been inconsistent.

Only Liam Livingstone has shone brightly for Punjab. But only Livingstone will not win them matches.

Chennai haven’t been much better with the bat, though Robin Uthappa has been in good touch and Ambati Rayudu and Shivam Dube has shone in patches.

Chennai will bank more on their bowlers on Monday to keep the potentially-strong Punjab batting line-up quiet. Left-armer Mukesh Choudhary has been improving every game and if the likes of Maheesh Theekshana, Dwayne Bravo and Dwayne Pretorius can provide good support, there’s no reason why Chennai cannot get their third win of the season on Monday.

Captain Ravindra Jadeja though needs improvement. Well-known for his high-class fielding, he was dropping catches like an amateur in the last game.

Punjab have variety in their bowling attack, led by South African quick Kagiso Rabada. Arshdeep Singh has been very economical. But Vaibhav Arora needs to step up and Rahul Chahar needs to have a bigger impact.

It is unlikely that Chennai will make any changes to their playing XI.

“They had left out all-rounder Moeen Ali in the last game, but having won that match, they may chose to go in with the same pack.

Punjab though have some thinking to do. They will have to consider whether to bring back Sri Lankan batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa in the XI. Bairstow has done little so far to keep his place in the side and Rajapaksa may just get a look-in.

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