Chennai and Punjab face each other in the 53rd match of the Indian T20 League on Thursday. While MS Dhoni-led Chennai have already qualified for the playoffs and are almost certain to end the league stage with a top-two finish, they would try their level best to gain another two points and safely enter the later part of the tournament. They currently have 18 points to their credit with a net run rate of +0.739, the best in the ongoing edition.
Punjab, meanwhile, would look to win the game as thoroughly as they could and wait for outside and almost unlikely chance to make it to the final 4. Though the KL Rahul-led side would be needing a lot of permutation and combination to go in their favour even after winning the encounter against Chennai, they must be aware that a loss could simply close doors on their last hope as well. With a total of 10 points, Punjab are at the seventh spot in the points table.
With both the teams needing a win from the game, here is an analysis on which of them would step into the contest as favourites—
1. Head-to-head record
It is an open secret that Chennai are the dominant side if one considers the overall history of the two teams. The stats also back the same saying that Chennai have won the 15 matches out of the 24 that took place between the sides in the Indian T20 League so far. If we talk particularly about the recent 3 games between the sides, Chennai emerged the winner on all the occasions.
2. UAE Factor
A total of 3 matches have been played between the two sides and again they are the Chennai team who have dominated with a lead of 2-1. And to make their case further strong, it should be mentioned that Chennai won their both game against Punjab that took place in UAE last season.
3. Performance in UAE leg of ongoing edition
While Chennai have won 4 of their 6 games played in the Indian T20 League phase 2, Punjab have lost two of their 5 games played in the UAE leg.
Considering the overall factors, Chennai are definitely going to enter the game against Punjab as a much stronger side.