On a three-match winning streak, Chennai Super Kings will look to seal their play-off berth when they take on an erratic Kings XI Punjab in a crucial preliminary match of the IPL, on Thursday.
The tournament in its final leg, there is a mad scramble to bag the three available spots in the top-four to make the play-off cut after table-toppers Delhi Daredevils became the first team to qualify with 20 points from 14 matches.
Chennai, playing their last league match on Thursday, are on the fourth spot after eight wins and six losses that left their points tally at 17.
Kings XI Punjab also have an outside chance of making the play-offs provided they win both their remaining matches and some results go their way. Punjab are currently seventh in the list with seven wins and an equal number of losses.
Led by stand-in captain David Hussey, KXIP have the daunting task of beating tough teams such as Chennai and Delhi Daredevils.
Opener Mandeep Singh has been the prolific scorer for his team and Australian Shaun Marsh, former Pakistani all-rounder Azhar Mahmood and young South African David Miller too have shown that the home side’s batting has depth.
But the defeat against Delhi in the away match would have surely affected the team’s morale.
Medium pacers Praveen Kumar, Parvinder Awana and Mahmood who can bat as well, have done a decent job in the bowling department and the team’s fielding, too, has improved as the tournament has progressed.
Chennai, on the other hand, have gained momentum as the tournament approaches its business end. They upstaged Kolkata Knight Riders in their previous match and that in front of a packed Eden Gardens.
And Chennai would be eyeing revenge against Kings XI Punjab for handing them a loss in front of their home fans last month.
Kings XI Punjab: Adam Gilchrist (Capt.), Bipul Sharma, Paras Dogra, Harmeet Singh, Siddharth Chitnis, Love Ablish, Piyush Chawla, Amit Yadav, Parvinder Awana, Stuart Broad, Azhar Mahmood, Bhargav Bhatt, Ryan Harris, Vikramjeet Malik, Paul Valthaty, Sunny Singh, Shalabh Srivastava, Rajagopal Sathish, Nitin Saini, Nathan Rimmington, Abhishek Nayar, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Shaun Marsh, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Ramesh Powar.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt.), Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Srikkanth Anirudha, Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ben Hilfenhaus, Shadab Jakati, Doug Bollinger, Francois du Plessis, George Bailey, Scott Styris, Suraj Randiv, Abhinav Mukund, G Vignesh, Joginder Sharma, Kuthethur Vasudevadas, Subramaniam Badrinath, Sudeep Tyagi, Yo Mahesh and Wriddhiman Saha.