Deadline: April 16, 7:30 PM IST
Nothing much has changed for Chennai since the previous season. Sam Curran was among runs. MS Dhoni could not provide any impetus with the bat. They could not get wickets at regular intervals. And they lost.
However, it could have been worse. Exclude Suresh Raina from the playing XI and they look miserable. It was his half-century that lifted them from early jolts in the powerplay to a dominating position of 137 for 5 in 15.1 overs. It took a brilliant run out to send the old warhorse back.
Punjab escaped a certain defeat by a margin of a mere 4 runs, despite posting a massive target of 222 runs. KL Rahul continued his dream run at the Wankhede Stadium, registering his fourth consecutive 90-plus score. Overall, he has hit 428 runs at a strike rate of 153 at the venue.
There aren’t any safer candidates for captaincy and vice-captaincy than KL Rahul and Suresh Raina respectively for tonight’s match, in fantasy cricket.
Punjab: KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Chris Jordan, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
Chennai: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on recent performances, impact, and credit points.
Both teams made their approach clear. They won’t be wasting any time getting their eye in. Either attack or perish.
Chennai lost their opening batters to brilliant deliveries, and despite the early hiccups, Moeen Ali and Raina continued with the counterattack. The same was the case for Punjab. They sent Deepak Hooda ahead of Nicholas Pooran, asking him to launch an onslaught right away and never let the opposition dictate terms. The result was a mind-boggling innings of 64 runs off a meagre 28 balls, including as many as 6 sixes.
There, nonetheless, is a spot of bother for Punjab. Their lower middle-order is so frail that Jhye Richardson, who does not even have a fifty in any format, had to bat at No. 7. Above him comes the inexperienced Shahrukh Khan. Perhaps the inclusion of Chris Jordan can solve the conundrum.
On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja and Curran smashed 60 runs off 32 balls between them. Sandwiched between is Dhoni who may not be in a good form but can hit sixes at will. In conclusion, Chennai have a complete batting setup compared to Punjab.
Bowlers from both teams took some spanking, failing to defend big scores. Chennai managed to take only 3 wickets but in the overs 14, 17 and 19 when the match was already lost. Meanwhile, Mohammad Shami and Arshdeep Singh kept Punjab on course with figures of 2 for 33 and 3 for 35 respectively.
If Chennai have a comprehensive batting lineup, Punjab have bowlers who can keep them in the hunt even on flat tracks and at any juncture.