Chennai hope for batting revival
Match factsSaturday April 28, Chennai
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
The last time Kings XI Punjab were in Chennai, in 2010, the match was tied and Kings XI won in the Super Over. They did not make the trip in 2011 because of the tournament's format. This year, they desperately need points in Chennai, to keep up with the competition.
Kings XI won their last two away games, in Mumbai and Kolkata, and a narrow defeat in their previous game at home should not shadow their improved performance. Chennai Super Kings, however, are a tough team to beat at home, with an 18-7 win-loss record at Chepauk.
For Kings XI, their batting performance has improved even though Adam Gilchrist missed the last three games because of torn hamstrings. They managed 168, 164 and 163 in those games, while in the previous two they made only 124 and 134. Mandeep Singh and Nitin Saini have given Kings XI two of their best three opening partnerships this season and that has allowed Shaun Marsh and David Hussey to play freely in the middle order. Kings XI's bowling has been less impressive, with Praveen Kumar struggling for success. He's taken only two wickets in eight games, despite a green Mohali pitch.
Super Kings have four wins, but their rise o No. 3 has largely gone unnoticed due to the absence of noticeable performances apart from Faf fu Plessis and Albie Morkel. S Badrinath's move to the opening slot has stabilised the top order, but the impetus hasn't come from IPL stalwarts such as Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, who have low strike-rates this season. For Dhoni, R Ashwin's lack of wickets has been another area of concern. Unlike other seasons, Super Kings have not looked fluent.
Form guide(most recent first)
Chennai Super Kings: NRWWLW (NR - no result)
Kings XI Punjab: LWLLW
Players to watch
Parvinder Awana picked up nine wickets in the last three games and leapfrogged Piyush Chawla as the leading wicket-taker for Kings XI. Awana has the ability to surprise batsmen with his pace. He bowls in the mid 130 kph but can ramp it up to the 140s.
This season has been an extended struggle for Suresh Raina who has scored only 138 runs in seven innings for Super Kings. However, as IPL's leading run-getter, Raina has the talent to come good at any moment. He has batted at No. 3, where he has enough time to play himself into form, and he could be one innings away from getting there.
Stats and trivia
- Raina has taken 35 catches in IPL, which is the highest for a non-wicketkeeper. He has scored 680 runs in Chennai, the highest by any player on their home turf in the IPL.
- The Dhoni-Raina partnership has yielded 752 runs in IPL, which is third behind Gambhir-Sehwag and Gibbs-Gilchrist.
"We had a good couple of years initially. The last two years were not very good. I think this year should be better, overall."
Kings XI Punjab owner Ness Wadia is upbeat this season
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.