The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will face the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in match number 11 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. Defending champions Chennai are not looking as strong as in previous years. They have had an uncharacteristic start to their campaign, going down in their first two games. After losing to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 6 wickets in the opening match of the IPL 2022 season, they also lost to Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) despite putting up a 200-plus total. On the other hand, PBKS began their IPL 2022 journey by chasing down 206 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The same batting line-up, however, failed to deliver against KKR. Punjab were thumped as Umesh Yadav, and Andre Russell had a memorable day. As CSK and PBKS meet, here are five player battles to watch out for.
1. Robin Uthappa vs Kagiso Rabada: Veteran batter Robin Uthappa has made an impressive start to his IPL 2022 campaign even as CSK have not done well. In both the matches he has played so far, he has looked at ease out in the middle. The ball is flowing off the meat of his bat, which is a great sign for the batter. With Ruturaj Gaikwad searching for rhythm, Chennai will expect Uthappa to give them the early momentum. He is likely to be thwarted by Kagiso Rabada. The South African pacer made his PBKS debut against KKR and was impressive even though the team did not have a big score to defend. Rabada will look to strike early again and put CSK on the backfoot.
2. Moeen Ali vs Arshdeep Singh: CSK were bolstered by the availability of Moeen Ali in the previous match against LSG, and he made an instant impact, playing a nice cameo. Moeen was crucial to Chennai’s win last season, constantly playing the game-changing knocks after coming in at the number three position. He has begun in the same manner this season and will look to carry on the momentum against Punjab. While Moeen will throw his bat around and look to score at a fast clip, Arshdeep Singh will be keen to stop him in his tracks. The left-arm seamer is a smart bowler who keeps it tight and has all the variations to unsettle batters.
3. Bhanuka Rajapaksa vs Dwayne Bravo: PBKS batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa has been in terrific big-hitting form. He has come in and enjoyed himself, smacking the bowlers all over the park. After hammering 43 off 22 against RCB, he followed it with a 9-ball 31 against KKR. The Sri Lankan batter will be keen to carry on his stunning form but will want to convert his effort into bigger scores. CSK will need someone who varies the pace of his deliveries to unsettle Rajapaksa’s rhythm. Who better than veteran pacer Dwayne Bravo, the leading wicket-taker in the IPL? The West Indian has been Chennai’s best bowler on display thus far.
4. Ravindra Jadeja vs Rahul Chahar: CSK skipper Ravindra Jadeja will be expected to deliver the big hits in the second half of the innings. He found some batting rhythm against LSG and will want to continue in the same vein. But, he is likely to face a stern challenge from PBKS leggie Rahul Chahar. The bowler has been in excellent form in the IPL so far and has been next to impossible to dispatch. Chahar’s deliveries will be coming into Jadeja. Still, he has the variety to trouble the batter.
5. Shahrukh Khan vs Adam Milne: PBKS have picked Shahrukh Khan in the squad to deliver the final flourish for them. If he gets it right, Shahrukh has the capability of destroying attacks in a matter of a few balls. He has made a mixed start to IPL 2022 and will be keen to make a mark against CSK. At the death, he could face the fiery pace of Adam Milne. If the Kiwi gets it spot on, he could unsettle Shahrukh.