Having won both of their games although precariously CSK have tasted pressure early on and have absorbed well which would provide confidence to them for the games going forward. One may say that they won due to one hell of an innings from DJ against MI but that is something which makes a team a strong one when someone stands up to the moment each game and delivers, where everyone is a match winner. Although they looked like a team which could play even with their ten players, they are having problems with their fitness with a player getting injured each game. With Raina getting a calf strain he won’t be playing at least for two games and that is the prime concern for CSK to replace him with a player able to fill in his shoes. Speaking of their game against KXIP, they’ll be in a fix whether to bring Rayadu who, so far, has not done anything wrong as an opener, down and play Shorey or Murli Vijay along Watto as an opening pair. Or, keep the opening combo as it has been and play Vijay/Shorey at 3. Although latter may seem likely going by Rayadu’s performance at the top order CSK may go with the former option because of two reasons. One that Rayadu have played at multiple positions earlier and Vijay/Shorey don’t suit anywhere better than opening slot. And, the second reason is that this change in top order is going to be only for a game or two so CSK can give it a try to test other options available for opening. Also, Billings who got an opportunity in the last game have proved to be a valid replacement for Faf. Looking at the last game which got played there in Mohali against DD, the wicket played little on the slower side which may leave their bowling unit untouched with two spinners in Tahir and Bhajji.
Ashwin mentioning “If we go down, we go down fighting” was clear in the game against their southern counterpart RCB where they didn’t lose easily put up the pressure till the end. Their body language has been good, they have shown that they are here to put up a fight no matter whatever situation it is. Although their spirits are high they are having concerns, Mayank Aggarwal getting out cheaply in both the games would make management think whether to bring Finch up the order or to try Gayle alongside KL. Also, Miller being rested even after doing well in the first game seemed little unjustified. He might also rejoin the team in place of Stoinis as we saw in the last game he didn’t play as an all-rounder but as a batsman. With Yuvraj not being able to perform, pressure would be on him as there are players like Manoj Tiwari and hard hitter Manzoor Dar waiting for an opportunity. After getting collapsed in the middle order in the last game, Ashwin would be looking for options to strengthen that aspect of their batting lineup. Also, Mohit Sharma not being able to make a mark so far may get replaced by Ankit Rajpoot. We may also see Barinder Sran in place of Andrew Tye if they go with Finch, Miller and Stoinis/Gayle. Mujeeb after getting hit by AB in the last game would be having a reality check for himself that it is not that simple playing in IPL and would be on his toes to not give anything to the batsmen tonight to hit for.
CSK Tentative Playing XI : 1. Murli Vijay / Dhruv Shorey 2. Watson 3. Rayadu 4. Billings 5. Dhoni 6. Jadeja 7. Bravo 8. Chahar 9. Harbhajan 10. Thakur 11. Tahir
KXIP Tentative Playing XI : 1. KL Rahul 2. Finch/Gayle/Mayank 3. Karun Nair/Finch 4. Yuvi/Tiwary/Dar/Nair 5. Miller/Stoinis/Yuvi 6. Tiwary/Miller/Stoinis 7. Axar 8. Ashwin 9. Mohit Sharma/Ankit Rajpoot 10. Barinder Sran/Andrew Tye 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman