Competing for top spot on the 2019 IPL points table, Chennai will be hoping to win back that position after they registered their first loss of the tournament against Mumbai. CSK’s rare-failure to chase down the oppositions target could give Punjab a bit of a look in, they’ve managed to turn around their fortunes in the IPL with three wins already. Going by what we’ve seen from the first 16 matches, the Super Kings look like the team to beat this season.
Chennai Super Kings
A rare-slip up in a run chase against the Mumbai Indians has all of a sudden raised some doubts over the Chennai Super Kings batting line-up. Astoundingly, this was basically the same batting order that won them last year’s IPL title, but at the moment some of their heroes from IPL 11 aren’t firing which is putting a lot more pressure on skipper MS Dhoni. Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu who were two of Chennai’s most successful individuals in 2018 find themselves struggling to find form, even Suresh Raina whose top score after four games is 36 hasn’t been able to uphold his lofty reputation as a run-scoring machine in the IPL. Having said all that, Chennai has still been able to produce a hat-trick of wins to start their 2019 campaign which is a phenomenal effort if you take into consideration some of their underperforming stars. In a losing cause, Kedar Jadhav’s fighting-fifty for the Super Kings in Mumbai gives them some sort of confidence heading into the next match, at the moment it’s not the middle order that’s the concern though, both Dhoni and Jadhav look in very good touch. Faf du Plessis is being wasted sitting on the bench at the moment, he should be strongly-considered for this upcoming game.
It was the first time in the tournament that Deepak Chahar didn’t bowl out with the new ball, teams have been reluctant to attack him which is where Mumbai boldly ventured and won the battle. Chahar can’t be faulted though, he’s picked up four wickets and gone for just 5.13 in his four games this season. MSD has confidently used spinning-duo Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja who have combined for 11 wickets in the tournament so far, Harbhajan Singh was a surprise omission after CSK’s opening game, nevertheless it’s worked out fine. The experienced Dwayne Bravo has been a key contributor with the ball for Chennai so far in 2019, the West Indian all-rounder has already bagged 7 wickets as his mixture of variations continues to do the job.
Kings XI Punjab
What a turnaround it’s been for the Kings XI Punjab! Four years of absence in the IPL playoffs looks as if it’s about to change in 2019 as this new-and-improved outfit competes for top spot in the standings against Chennai tomorrow. One of the surprise selections of the tournament has proven to be one of the handiest in the form of Sarfaraz Khan who has chipped in with some extremely handy little-cameos. While Karun Nair appears to be a bit stiff missing out on the action at the moment, there’s no vacant positions in the side which is a huge positive for Kings XI. Batting at No. 3, Mayank Agarwal is Punjab’s second-highest scoring batsman in IPL 12 with 129 runs behind Chris Gayle who missed the last match. David Miller’s loyalty to Kings XI and vice versa is paying off big time as the South African batting phenomenon continues to produce innings of significance for his IPL team.
Everyone seems to be playing their role this season, that’s the most noticeable change from last year’s campaign. Even Mandeep Singh has adapted to his role as a finisher towards the back-end of the innings when required, and he could play a crucial part against CSK. Replacing Chris Gayle in the starting XI, Sam Curran made the most of his opportunity as he scored a match-winning hat-trick and ended with figures of 4/11. There’s no way he can be dropped after a performance like that, is there? After a bit of a disappointing run of late, experienced-pair Ravi Ashwin and Mohammed Shami finally stepped up claiming two wickets each against Delhi and keeping the runs to a minimum. This is a side that tends to change their line-up more often than not, especially in the bowling department so don’t be surprised if there’s another 2-3 changes made for this clash with CSK.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Chennai Super Kings
- Deepak Chahar
- Suresh Raina
- Imran Tahir
- Shane Watson
Wildcard pick – Faf du Plessis
Top 4 fantasy picks – Kings XI Punjab
- KL Rahul
- Mohammed Shami
- Chris Gayle
- Ravi Ashwin
Wildcard pick – Murugan Ashwin
Chennai Super Kings (possible) – 1. Shane Watson 2. Ambati Rayudu/Faf du Plessis 3. Suresh Raina 4. Kedar Jadhav 5. MS Dhoni (c & wk) 6. Dwayne Bravo 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Deepak Chahar 9. Shardul Thakur/Harbhajan Singh 10. Mohit Sharma 11. Imran Tahir.
Kings XI Punjab (possible) – 1. KL Rahul (wk) 2. Chris Gayle 3. Mayank Agarwal 4. Sarfaraz Khan 5. David Miller 6. Mandeep Singh 7. Sam Curran 8. Ravi Ashwin © 9. Hardus Viljoen/Andrew Tye 10. Murugan Ashwin 11. Mohammed Shami.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.