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IPL-2024: Punjab Kings to take on Chennai Super Kings in Dharamshala

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Punjab Kings will take on Chennai Super Kings in Dharamshala. The match will start at 3:30 PM

Dharamsala has an iconic importance in the annals of Chennai Super Kings’ long and distinguished IPL history. Facing a must-win game at this venue back in 2010, MS Dhoni famously bailed the side out in a dramatic last-over finish to send Chennai into knockouts. Ultimately, they’d go on to win the first of their five IPL titles. Fast forward 14 years later and CSK once again find themselves in a spot of bother heading to Dharamsala.

It’s not yet panic stations as it was in 2010 but with the playoffs race heating up considerably, the defending champions know that more slip-ups will put their qualification hopes in jeopardy. After a promising start to the season with four wins in six games, CSK slipped to three losses in their next four games, including two at home in Chepauk. After the high-flying success in 2023, the batting approach this year has come under scrutiny with the over-dependence on Shivam Dube clearly visible during the middle overs phase. The powerplay hasn’t been explosive either as Ajinkya Rahane’s form remains a concern.

Skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad’s excellent form is a relief but CSK need to sort out the tempo of their batting in a season where teams have pushed the envelope when it comes to boundary-hitting. CSK have, of course, not been helped by the dew factor of which they have been on the wrong side of. It has handicapped an already rusty batting unit but with this being an afternoon game, that shouldn’t be an excuse. The bowling has also been inconsistent though with injuries being a crucial contributing factor.

In contrast, Punjab Kings are riding a wave of confidence. After registering the highest-ever T20 run chase at the Eden Gardens against KKR, beating CSK at Chepauk was just the tonic they needed to gather steam towards the business end of the tournament. They might be a volatile unit, more so in the batting department, but when they come off, PBKS are a very hard team to stop. A lot of their initial worries in the tournament boiled down to the top-order failure and inefficiency in death bowling. It meant that the uncapped players in Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma had to do the heavy-lifting, which they did with aplomb.

The return to form of Jonny Bairstow has given a massive boost to the batting line-up with Rilee Rossouw also doing his bit reasonably. This has allowed the middle order to function with relative ease. The bowling has also stepped up, adjusting to conditions whenever needed. Punjab still does leak runs at the odd phases but the wicket-taking potency has seen an upswing, thereby allowing them to keep the opposition run-scoring under check, particularly on flatter batting surfaces.

PBKS have momentum and confidence in their favour, along with home advantage as they face a CSK side that’s struggling to put their campaign back on track. The battle between Chennai’s bowling and Punjab’s batting could be the decisive sub-plot in this fixture.

Squads:

Chennai Super Kings Squad: Ajinkya Rahane, Ruturaj Gaikwad(c), Daryl Mitchell, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni(w), Shardul Thakur, Tushar Deshpande, Richard Gleeson, Matheesha Pathirana, Sameer Rizvi, Mukesh Choudhary, Simarjeet Singh, Shaik Rasheed, Prashant Solanki, Mitchell Santner, Rachin Ravindra, Ajay Jadav Mandal, RS Hangargekar, , Maheesh Theekshana, Nishant Sindhu, Aravelly Avanish

Punjab Kings Squad: Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran(c), Rilee Rossouw, Shashank Singh, Jitesh Sharma(w), Ashutosh Sharma, Harpreet Brar, Harshal Patel, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh, Prabhsimran Singh, Liam Livingstone, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Rishi Dhawan, Vidhwath Kaverappa, Shikhar Dhawan, Chris Woakes, Tanay Thyagarajan, Atharva Taide, Nathan Ellis, Shivam Singh, Prince Choudhary, Vishwanath Singh

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