Battle of the Kings in Mumbai
A week since the opening match of the 2021 Vivo Indian Premier League and it is time for Game 8 as the Punjab Kings entertain the Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai. Six days after defeat in their first game and defeat to the Delhi Capitals, CSK will be looking to bounce back against a Punjab side who won a nail-biting thriller in their opener on Monday to the Rajasthan Royals.
Slow and steady win the race
It wasn’t an electrifying start from the newly named Punjab Kings last time out against the Rajasthan Royals, but the skipper KL Rahul (91), the veteran Chris Gayle (40) and a swashbuckling (64) from just 28 balls for Deepak Hooda helped the Kings set a mammoth score of 222 against the Royals.
In response, things got a lot closer than expected, when Mohammed Shami dismissed the always dangerous Ben Stokes for a duck and then Manan Vohra fell to Arshdeep Singh to leave the Royals 25-2. But a monumental 119 from Sanju Samson took the game to the final ball, but Punjab managed to sneak over the line and claim a four run victory.
Same old CSK
It was a tale of two halves really for the Chennai Super Kings last time out, as they set the Delhi Capitals a pretty impressive 189 to win in Mumbai. After a shaky start which saw both openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (5) and Faf du Plessis (0) dismissed within 13 balls, CSK fans would have been fearful. But the biggest strength of CSK came to the fore and got them out of trouble with runs from the experienced Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Ravi Jadeja, before an explosive cameo from Sam Curran, who has gone from opening the batting, to finishing the innings, as he hit an unbeaten 34, including hitting his brother Tom for 16 from 3 balls.
But with the ball, they never really seemed to be in control. With the ball not swinging much, Curran and Deepak Chahar seemed largely ineffective and despite taking two wickets, Shardul Thakur went at 14.45 runs per over. Dwayne Bravo looked the pick of the bowlers, but if you don’t take a wicket until the 14th over, you are always going to be up against it, and in the end, the Capitals ran away with a comfortable seven wicket victory.
With work to do with the ball for CSK, I can see the Punjab Kings getting off to a good start in this one, even if the game will be tight.
That’s why I am backing the Punjab Kings to score more runs in the powerplay than the Chennai Super Kings at 1.83 with Fun88.