Kings XI Punjab would want to end a disappointing 2019 campaign with a win over in-form Chennai Super Kings
Assured of a playoff berth, table toppers Chennai Super Kings will aim to maintain their position at the top, with a victory over a struggling Kings XI Punjab in their last IPL group league encounter at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on May 5.
After a defeat against Mumbai Indians, Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK bounced back with a massive 80-run win over Delhi Capitals in their last game, to once again capture the No 1 spot on the points table.
A heavy loss against Mumbai Indians saw their net run-rate fall, and now with just a game left in the league stage, the defending champions need a win to maintain their dominance and cement their position at the top.
With 18 points from 13 games, a win will guarantee them the top spot as the teams trailing are at 16 points, with one game remaining.
In their previous match against Delhi Capitals, skipper Dhoni and Suresh Raina guided the team to a challenging 179/4 and then restricted the opponent to just 99.
Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja shared seven scalps between them as they wreaked havoc.
Dhoni, Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis will look to score big runs in Mohali, while Tahir and Harbhajan will aim to flummox the Kings XI batsmen with their spin magic.
In contrast, Kings XI Punjab, who are already out of the play-offs race, will be playing only for pride. With 10 points from 13 games, they are at seventh spot.
Inconsistent KXIP's hopes of making it to the playoffs were dashed in a seven-wicket loss to Kolkata Knight Riders in their last match.
Not being in the reckoning for playoffs will be a disappointment for the home crowd but they will hope that KXIP finishes on a high note.
In the previous game against KKR, despite posting a challenging 183/6, visitors' openers Shubman Gill (65 not out) and Chris Lynn (46) took the match away from the KXIP.
After the match, KXIP skipper Ravichandran Ashwin admitted that powerplay has been one of his team's "massive problems".
"Powerplay has been one of our massive problems. Most games that we won is because through the middle overs or sometimes in the death overs where you had some incredible performances by (Mohammed) Shami or Sam (Curran), something like that," said Ashwin.
Ashwin summed up his team's campaign this season as not up to the mark.
Their in-form openers Chris Gayle and K L Rahul, who have been among top run scorers, will be keen to come good against CSK.
The likes of Sam Curran, Mayank Agarwal and Nicholas Pooran will have to shoulder more responsibility in the middle-order.
Their bowling largely depends on skipper Ashwin and Shami.
Timing – 4 pm
Venue – Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
Where to watch – Star Sports 1/1HD/1 Hindi/1HD Hindi/1 Tamil/1 Telugu/1 Kannada/1 Bangla/Select 1/Select 1HD. Online viewers can catch the action live on Hotstar.
Head to Head
The two teams have played against each other 20 times. CSK have won 12 of those matches, while KXIP have notched wins in 8 others.
Earlier this season, CSK defeated KXIP by 22 runs. In that match, batting first CSK posted 160/3 in 20 overs on the back of Faf du Plessis' 54 off 38 balls. Then, KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan hit brilliant fifties but Kings XI fell short of 22 runs.
No injury concerns for either side. Also, the foreign players of both sides are available for selection.
Prediction: who will win?
History and current form say that CSK are an overwhelming favourite to win this fixture.
Betting Odds (bet365)
Chennai Super Kings: 8/11
Kings XI Punjab: 11/10
Check the other popular bets on the match on oddschecker.
Pitch report at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium: The pitch at Mohali offers pace and bounce and is conducive to score runs. Expect this fixture to be a high scoring match.
Moneycontrol Dream XI: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Suresh Raina, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Mohammed Shami, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar
Players to watch out for
KL Rahul (KXIP)
KL Rahul is KXIP's leading run scorer this season. The stylish opener has hit 5 fifties and 1 hundred on his way to 522 runs.
MS Dhoni (CSK)
The CSK skipper is his sides leading run scorer in 2019 with 358 runs. Dhoni is averaging a stunning 119.33 this season.IPL points table: CSK are at the top of the points table with 18 points from 13 matches. KXIP have had a troubled season and are at the seventh spot from managing mere 10 point from 13 matches. Check the entire points table here.