IPL 2020 Match 18 Preview: KXIP vs CSK - Struggling Chennai aim to break losing streak against Punjab
There are areas for Kings XI Punjab which are brilliant, and then, there are areas which need to be fixed.
Punjab lose way
Their openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have done a great job for the team, but the middle order is unproven at the moment. Similarly, their new ball bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Mohammed Shami have been right on point. Ravi Bishnoi, too, has bowled brilliantly. But, their remaining two bowling options need to be addressed.
Kings XI Punjab had an awful outing in their last fixture against Mumbai Indians. They got off to a great start with the ball, with Sheldon Cottrell sending back MI opener Quinton de Kock for a duck in the very first over. Mohammed Shami, too, looked difficult to get away.
Who are Punjab's 4th and 5th bowlers?
However, once the two bowlers were taken off the attack, there was no one who could assist Ravi Bishnoi to put constant pressure on the opposition. The under 19 fame leg spinner Bishnoi did his job, bowling at under 10 RPO but the other eight overs hit Punjab hard.
Krishnappa Gowtham and Jimmy Neesham went for 45 and 52 runs respectively from their four overs each, conceding more than 60 runs in the last three overs. This is where the match went out of Punjab's reach.
Rahul and Agarwal's failure exposes holes in KXIP's middle order
For KXIP to still win, Rahul and Agarwal needed to fire. They did get off the team to a good start, adding 38 runs within the first five overs, but both of them perished while playing lose shots.
Nicholas Pooran did show some fireworks but despite his 27-ball 44, Punjab couldn't even come close as their overseas stars Glenn Maxwell and James Neesham failed to get going.
Jordan in, Neesham out
Punjab would consider making a couple of changes to their playing XI for this match. Jimmy Neesham has now not performed for a couple of games and it might be time for Chris Jordan to come back into the side. Similarly, Krishnappa Gowtham is expected to make room for leg spinner Murugan Ashwin.
All not well for CSK
That Chennai lost three back-to-back matches in the IPL for the first time after their 7-run loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad for the first time since 2014, does not augur well for them.
Watson needs to fire
They made a few changes to their team by slotting Shane Watson, who continues to have a torrid time, and Faf du Plessis at the top and bringing in Dwayne Bravo. However, it is the lack of intent in their batting which is costing them.
There aren't a lot of changes that CSK can make to their team now. All they can hope for is their trusted personnel to pull up their socks.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) - Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni(c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) - Lokesh Rahul(c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Jordan, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin, Sheldon Cottrell, Ravi Bishnoi
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