Date: 16th April 2021
Time: 7:30 pm (IST)
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
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Punjab and Chennai face each other in match number 8 of the Indian T20 League 2021. While KL Rahul’s men are coming on the back of a hard-fought win over Rajasthan, Chennai will be playing the game post loss to Delhi Capitals in their season opener.
Last year, when the two sides faced each other in the league stage, they were MS Dhoni’s men who had emerged victorious on both the occasions. However, this time, Rahul’s men look stronger than what they were in the previous edition and a tough fight between the teams on Friday is inevitable.
Punjab had a heartbreak last season as they had missed a playoff spot by mere two points. Meanwhile, CSK had their worst-ever season in IPL 2020, at least in terms of stats, where the team had finished at the seventh spot.
Given the way their players performed in the first game, KL Rahul would look to step out with the same playing XI on Friday. However, if changes happen in squad selection, Murugan Ashwin, who was too costly in the first game, might make way for Ravi Bishnoi and Riley Meredith may warm the benches for Moises Henriques.
After ending their season opener on a losing note, Chennai will definitely try to get back on winning ways. Suresh Raina is back to the side this season and is in great form. Though the openers looked unsettled in the first game, Chennai are likely to stick to the combination (Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis) for some more time.
The side might give a chance to their new signing Jason Behrendorff, who has replaced Josh Hazlewood in the squad.
KL Rahul is in some terrific form for the past two seasons when we talk about his IPL career in particular. However, to judge his form with just one innings in the edition would not be right, but he cleared one thing for sure that he is going to play bit more fearlessly this year. Chris Gayle started this season exactly from where he had left in the previous edition. The Caribbean on a batting favourable track like that of Wankhede is a treat to watch.
Meanwhile, if we focus on all-rounders, Sam Curran was brilliant with the bat in the previous match and Dwayne Bravo was good with the ball. Suresh Raina, the Mr IPL, hit a quick-fire fifty to show why he is so valuable batsman in the format.
Probable Playing XI
KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson, Murugan Ashwin/Ravi Bishnoi, Riley Meredith/ Moises Henriques, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar
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