Chennai Super Kings vs Punjab Kings Preview and Prediction: Will CSK Get Off The Mark?

Dwayne Bravo in action for Chennai Super Kings.
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Defending champions Chennai Super Kings have not made the start to their title defence that they would have wanted. Punjab Kings, meanwhile, have been gone 1-1 so far in 2022 which suggests that they might be in for another frustrating season. Victory here would be a significant boost for both sides, but who will come out on top? Read on for our full Chennai Super Kings vs Punjab Kings preview and prediction:

Chennai Super Kings vs Punjab Kings

Preview and Prediction

IPL So Far

After storming through the playoffs to win the title last season, CSK have looked like a side somewhat short of an identity in their first two matches of the season. The change of captain from MS Dhoni to Ravindra Jadeja has doubtless had a part to play in that, with Jadeja not particularly experienced in the relevant arts. That said, after a poor start against Kolkata Knight Riders, they improved significantly against Lucknow Super Giants, but could not quite hold off their opponents at the death.

Punjab Kings, meanwhile, started their tournament in fine style, chasing down 205 against Royal Challengers Bangalore with six balls to spare and five wickets still in the sheds, thanks to solid contributions from across the batting unit. But they were not able to maintain that level of performance against KKR. They were bowled out for 132, a score that KKR chased down inside 15 overs with Andre Russell scoring a magnificent 70* off just 31 balls.

Expected Teams

CSK have made a poor start, but it is surely too soon for them to panic. Expect them to stick with the opening combination of Robin Uthappa and Ruturaj Gaikwad, with all-rounders Moeen Ali at three and Shivam Dube at four. Ambati Rayudu will bat at five, with Jadeja – off to a slow start in the IPL – will bat at six and MS Dhoni in the finishing role at seven. Dwaine Pretorius may well keep his place at eight, with Dwayne Bravo, Tushar Deshpande and Adam Milne completing the XI.

Punjab Kings are also unlikely to make many changes. India stalwarts Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal will open the batting with Liam Livingstone at three. Johnny Bairstow should be in line for his first appearance of the season. He will likely take the gloves. Shahrukh Khan will bat at five, with Raj Bawa at six and the hard-hitting Odean Smith at seven. Harpreet Bhar, South Africa star Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh and Rahul Chahar will comprise the frontline bowling attack.

Prediction

As it stands – though it is of course still early days – neither of these sides look to have a particularly realistic chance of competing for the title. The weakness for both is their bowling attacks. But Rabada gives the Punjab Kings a genuinely first-rate bowler. They also, thanks to the arrival of Johnny Bairstow, have a better balance to their batting line-up than in their first two games. The toss will, as ever, play a role, but Punjab look the likelier of the two teams.

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