|Ruturaj Gaikwad||c Shahrukh Khan b Arshdeep Singh||12||14||1||0||85.71|
|Faf du Plessis||c Lokesh Rahul b Mohammed Shami||76||55||8||2||138.18|
|Moeen Ali||c Lokesh Rahul b Arshdeep Singh||0||6||0||0||0|
|Robin Uthappa||c Harpreet Brar b Chris Jordan||2||6||0||0||33.33|
|Ambati Rayudu||c Arshdeep Singh b Chris Jordan||4||5||0||0||80|
|MS Dhoni||b Ravi Bishnoi||12||15||2||0||80|
|Ravindra Jadeja||not out||15||17||1||0||88.24|
|Dwayne Bravo||not out||4||2||1||0||200|
|Total||(20 Ov, RR: 6.69)||134/6|
|Lokesh Rahul||not out||98||42||7||8||233.33|
|Mayank Agarwal||lbw Shardul Thakur||12||12||2||0||100|
|Sarfaraz Khan||c Faf du Plessis b Shardul Thakur||0||3||0||0||0|
|Shahrukh Khan||c Dwayne Bravo b Deepak Chahar||8||10||0||1||80|
|Aiden Markram||c MS Dhoni b Shardul Thakur||13||8||0||1||162.5|
|Moises Henriques||not out||3||3||0||0||100|
|Total||(13 Ov, RR: 10.69)||139/4|
This is the final league encounter for both Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Punjab Kings (PBKS). There is quite a bit of context attached to this game. CSK are eyeing a spot in the top two and a win here would seal that spot given their superior net run rate.
Meanwhile, PBKS still have a mathematical chance of qualifying, but they need to win by a massive margin and also hope that a couple of other results go their way.
CSK have hit a roadblock of sorts. The MS Dhoni-led side seemed to be on a roll, but they have now lost two games in a row.
They were blown away by a terrific batting performance from Rajasthan Royals (RR) before the batting just couldn’t take off against Delhi Capitals (DC) and they lost in the final over while defending 136.
The middle-order has been a touch inconsistent with the likes of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina not in the best of forms. The bowling has fared decently. Thus, CSK may not ponder over too much over those two losses.
PBKS have consistently been in winning positions, but they have found ways to lose more often than not. The openers have laid the foundation, but the middle-order hasn’t been able to get the job done.
Apart from KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, there has barely been anyone in the batting line-up that has stepped up and that has cost them dearly.
Chennai Super Kings
Suresh Raina had a stiff back and hence, he sat out in the game against Delhi. He could return to the side for this game and replace Robin Uthappa. CSK could also ponder over resting Josh Hazlewood ahead of the playoffs and bring Lungi Ngidi in place of the Australian quick. Sam Curran has been ruled out due to a lower back injury.
Punjab have chopped and changed, and they could make a few more changes for this game as well. They played just three overseas players in the last game, and they could consider bringing in either Chris Jordan or Adil Rashid into the side. Fabien Allen suffered an ankle injury a couple of games ago and he missed the last game. He may not be fit in time for this game either.
Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina/Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood/Lungi Ngidi
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henriques, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh
CSK Openers: It would be an understatement to say that CSK’s openers have been one of the big reasons for their continued success this year.
Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad have been magnificent at the top of the order. As a pair, they have laid the foundation more often than not. In addition, both players have individually got big runs. du Plessis may not have got those tall scores in this UAE leg, but Gaikwad has been in a different zone altogether.
While the former has got 470 runs, Gaikwad has amassed 521 runs. Hence, the CSK openers have been crucial for their side, and they will continue to be the key as CSK look to seal a spot in the top two.
Shahrukh Khan: Shahrukh Khan has played only a couple of games in this second half of the IPL 2021 and he has looked in good touch. The Punjab middle-order has struggled and after the openers, they have fallen off the cliff multiple times.
However, Shahrukh Khan has shown some good composure and ability to don the finisher’s role. With an unbeaten 22 off nine balls, he helped PBKS get over the line against KKR and he was looking good against RCB as well.
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