Shers face Chennai challenge in the final game of the season

With qualification to the Playoffs a mathematical improbability, the Shers will play for pride against CSK on Sunday.

A stern test awaits Kings XI Punjab in their final game of the VIVO Indian Premier League campaign, as defending champions Chennai Super Kings visit Mohali in the penultimate match of the league stages of the season.

While CSK have already qualified for the Playoffs, KXIP find themselves out of contention in the race for the top 4 positions but will nevertheless want to finish the season on a high with a win against an in-form side.

Photo: SPORTZPICS

Aamne Saamne

Kings XI Punjab Chennai Super Kings
8 wins 12 wins

The Super Kings have historically had the better of KXIP, but in the same fixture last season, the Shers’ top order performed exceedingly well, helping the team post a massive total of 197, which the bowlers managed to defend in a nail-biting contest.

The team will be sure to draw motivation from that performance and hope that the top order can deliver yet against an in-form bowling attack.

Batting de Kings

KL Rahul MS Dhoni
522 runs 358 runs

Despite a change in role from aggressor to anchor this season, KL Rahul has managed to stack up impressive numbers and currently sits in second place in the race for the Orange Cap. The Mangalore-native hit a gritty half-century in the reverse fixture in Chepauk on what was a tough track to bat on. While top spot in the Orange Cap race is a considerable distance away, Rahul will still aim to cap off the season with another quality outing with the bat.

MS Dhoni has rolled back the years this season with the bat in his hand and is currently his team’s top scorer with 358 runs at a staggering average of 119.33. The skipper has been in tremendous touch and has consistently finished his team’s batting innings with a flourish this season. His innate ability to read the situation, pace his innings and target certain bowlers make him one of the most dangerous batsmen plying their trade in the league.      

Bowling de Badshah

Mohammad Shami Imran Tahir
17 wickets 21 wickets

Mohammad Shami has enjoyed a career best campaign this season and has been consistent in getting timely breakthroughs in the powerplay as well as the death overs for the Shers. The pacer hasn’t enjoyed the best of times against CSK, having conceded 88 runs in his past two matches with only a solitary wicket to his name, and will be eager to set the record straight against the three-time champions.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir has enjoyed another incredible campaign with CSK and currently only trails Delhi Capitals’ Kagiso Rabada in the race for the Purple cap. His array of variations with the ball coupled with his swift bowling action render him difficult, making him one of the potent spinners in the T20 format.    

Mudde Di Baat

Barring a miracle, the Shers will likely miss out on a Playoffs spot, which will be disappointing given that the team started the campaign quite well. However, the team will be eager to finish the season with a statement victory against the defending champions and finish as high as they possibly could in the league standings.

In-form Sam Curran and Nicholas Pooran will be particularly motivated to finish the season on a high after their outstanding knocks against KKR in the previous match. While the Englishman got his maiden VIVO Indian Premier League half-century, Pooran fell just short and will be aiming to get that elusive big knock before the season draws to a close.

Yaad Rakhiyo

  • Chris Gayle is just 38 away from 500 runs this season.
  • If Gayle does manage to reach 500 runs for the campaign, Rahul and Gayle will become only the third opening pair in VIVO Indian Premier League history to score 500 each in a single campaign.
  • Mohammad Shami needs three wickets to become only the second KXIP bowler to pick 20 wickets in a single VIVO Indian Premier League season.

Probable XI

KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran(wk), Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin(C), Murugan Ashwin, Hardus Viljoen, Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammad Shami

While the batting performed exceedingly well in the previous game, the bowling unit weren’t up to the mark and could be the area where the team would look to shake things up by bringing in Hardus Viljoen and Ankit Rajpoot. 

NOTE: The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.

 

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