For the first time in their history, Chennai Super Kings have lost their opening two matches of an IPL campaign, and Ravindra Jadeja’s team will be keen to get off the mark against Punjab Kings on Sunday.
While Kagiso Rabada’s presence will be a boost, and Rahul Chahar has kept batters quiet, the Kings will be expecting more from the likes of Arshdeep Singh and Harpreet Brar.
On paper, both teams have a solid batting line-up, having each posted 200-plus scores this season already. Expect another run-fest on Sunday.
Jonny Bairstow is set to return to the Kings’ XI, having completed his quarantine upon arrival from the Caribbean. The aggressive England batter will mostly replace West Indies allrounder Odean Smith. Raj Bawa could make way for pacer Sandeep Sharma.
Adam Milne missed the Super Kings’ second game due to injury, but according to head coach Stephen Fleming, he is “not too far away” from returning. If he is fit, the New Zealand quick is likely to replace one of Choudhary or Deshpande.
Chennai Super Kings : 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Robin Uthappa, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Shivam Dube, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 Ravindra Jadeja (capt), 7 MS Dhoni (wk), 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Dwaine Pretorious, 10 Adam Milne, 11 Tushar Deshpande/Mukesh Choudhary
Punjab Kings: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Mayank Agarwal (capt), 3 Bhanuka Rajapaksa (wk), 4 Liam Livingstone, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 M Shahrukh Khan, 7 Harpreet Brar, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 Arshdeep Singh
Rahul Chahar has been exceptional against left-handers, so will be trusted against Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube and Jadeja. Among spinners bowling to left-handers in India since 2019, he has taken 11 wickets, the second-most after Rashid Khan and has the best strike rate.