Battle of leadership styles of Dhoni and Ashwin as CSK take on KXIP
It will be a battle of leadership styles of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin when Chennai Super Kings clash with Kings XI Punjab an IPL match here on Saturday.
Dhoni's ability to stay calm and keep his cool even in the trickiest of situations versus Ashwin's aggressive approach and out-of-the-box decisions would certainly make for an interesting contest.
The two teams have three wins each and both will try to outdo each other to take the upper hand.
Defending champions CSK suffered their first defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians in their last match after three straight wins, and they would hoping to get back to winning ways as they return to their 'den'.
The two previous matches at MA Chidambaram stadium have produced contrasting performances. While Royal Challengers Bangalore were shot out for 70, Rajasthan Royals made CSK sweat before going down by eight runs on a better surface for the batters.
The spin-heavy CSK will now be up against KXIP, which also have quality spinners in their line-up with Ashwin himself at the forefront apart from Mujeeb Ur Rahman, leggie M Ashwin and mystery bowler C V Varun.
The home team's bowlers will be wary of Chris Gayle's power-hitting provided he plays after missing the game against Delhi Capitals on April 1.
With Gayle sitting out in their last match, KXIP showed it is not about the hard-hitting West Indian alone as KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal put their hands up. And Punjab would hope that they continue to shine.
CSK has relied on team effort to win their matches as different players have delivered the goods in the IPL so far.
The only worry would be the form of opener Ambati Rayudu, who has struggled to get going after last year's success, perhaps creating a chance for Murali Vijay at the top.
There is uncertainty over the availability of star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo for tomorrow's game after he suffered a hamstring injury against Mumbai. His absence could open up a spot for the New Zealand pacer Scott Kuggeleijn.
Dhoni will expect his bowlers to step up after the Mumbai batsmen went on the rampage during Wednesday's match.
In fact, CSK may opt for an extra spinner in place of either Mohit Sharma or Shardul Thakur.
KXIP skipper Ashwin, who was part of CSK before the franchise let him go, would be looking to put his best foot forward against his former team.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan (wk), Scott Kuggeleign.
Kings XI Punjab: Ravichandran Ashwin (capt), Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Mayank Agrawal, Karun Nair, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, David Miller, Sam Curran, Varun Chakaravarthy, Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques, Hardus Viljoen, Darshan Nalkande, Sarfaraz Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, Murugan Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Mandeep Singh, Simran Singh.
Match starts at 4 pm (IST).