Focusing on the top-two finish, the Chennai Super Kings will be looking forward to a thrilling clash with the Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team, despite suffering two consecutive defeats before the final round-robin match, will have a nose against inconsistent Punjab outfits except in the play-off race.
The three-time champions, roaring from the memorable IPL-2020, became the first team to reach the play-offs this season, are in good form in the second round and are on the verge of defeat.
The Super Kings batsmen are in excellent nick, especially the stylish Ruturaj Gaikwad, and they are eager to continue to do a good job. Gaikwad and veteran South Africa Faf du Plessis are at the top, with Ambati Rayudu showing up in the middle order.
Moin Ali did what he was asked to do but the fights between Suresh Raina (Delhi Capitals missed the game) and captain Dhoni are regretting CSK going to the next level.
Ravindra Jadeja has repeatedly emphasized his value as an all-rounder, has made crucial contributions and is crucial if the Super Kings are to go all the way.
With the successful Jaiswal and Shivam Dubey all-out attack, the bowlers did not make a happy ing on Rajasthan. They are eager to correct.
Deepak Chahar, with 12 wickets so far, is far ahead of the opposing batsmen, but he will ignite when pressed into the attack in the later stages.
Shardul Thakur is brilliant with 15 scalps, is the best CSK bowler in IPL-2021 and he looks to continue to do well at the end of the business.
The duo of Josh Hazelwood and Dwayne Bravo put their skills to good use like Jadeja and Ali. All-rounder Sam Curran missed the rest of the tournament due to injury, but CSK is not too worried as Bravo is there, he is doing well.
The instability of the sixth-ranked Punjab team led by KL Rahul with 10 points has become a curse.
While the captain topped the season charts with 528, his Karnataka state teammate Mayank Agarwal scored 429, but others were a factor in the Punjab Kings ’woes.
Before bowling, Mohammad Shami (18 wickets in 13 matches) and Arshdeep Singh (16 wickets) were the stars, while Ravi Bishnoi, who was surprisingly benched on some occasions, had his moments.
Rahul & Co can be tough against CSK and put them in contention for the top-four positions, even if the victory is only mathematical.
Super Kings, on the other hand, are looking forward to finishing the league stage with a win and entering the play-offs with confidence.
Defeat threatens CSK’s chances of finishing in the top two and Dhoni knows that.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Lungi Engidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, R Sai Kishore, Moin Ali, K Gautam, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagat Verma, C Hari Nishant.
Kings of Punjab: KL Rahul (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Arshadeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Shahrukh Khan, Mohammad Shami, Nathan Ellis, Adil Rashid, Murugan Ashwin, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Aiden Markram Singh, Darshan, , Ravi Bishnoi, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar, Jalaj Saxena.
The match starts at 3.30pm IST.