Kings XI Punjab will host Chennai Super Kings on Thursday, May 17, 2012, in a must-win game for the defending champions.
KXIP have already been knocked out of the tournament; having to win all their three remaining games, Hussey’s wards were thrashed by DD, thanks to a calm innings by Mahela Jayawardene. The result implies that KXIP only have pride to play for.
CSK have one match to go and in 15 matches the champions have registered eight wins and a draw, for 17 points. Their best hope of qualifying for the play offs is to win Thursday game and wait for the other matches to get over. For instance, they could qualify at the cost of RCB, on the back of a batter NRR, were the Bangalore squad to lose one of their two remaining games.
KKR’s game against MI could also prove crucial, as both KKR and MI could get knocked out were they to lose their remaining games in the competition.
Under the circumstances, expect CSK to come hard at KXIP. Dhoni’s men have shown the kind of resilience that has won them the championship in the last two years in the IPL.
CSK dropped Morkel to accommodate Hussey in the game with KKR and that decision proved the right one as the Australian won the MOM in a relatively low scoring match. CSK’s batting has wobbled a bit and but for Hilfenhaus’s latter-day heroics, their bowling hasn’t been the string suit. With Raina, Dhoni and Jadeja not in great batting form, it has been left to the likes of Bravo to rescue the team in crunch situations. But what matters is that with one game to go, CSK are still in the hunt for a place in the play offs.
KXIP’s young batsmen have done splendidly in the absence of Gilchrist; in fact the return of their skipper from injury could lead to a selection quandary, with their four overseas players, Marsh, Hussey, Miller and Mahmood, having given a good account of themselves. At best, Gilchrist’s inclusion might see a reshuffling of the batting order, with Miller exiting the eleven.
CSK have the edge in this potentially thrilling match though Dhoni’s men can ill afford to be complacent against a team that has a wealth of young local talent such as Saini, Awana, Mandeep and Gurkeerat Singh.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.