Kings XI Punjab will play for pride when they host defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the first match on Sunday.
MS Dhoni-led CSK have so far been the most formidable side in the ongoing edition and will look to enter the playoffs scenario by securing big win in their final league match.
After crushing Delhi Capitals in a one-sided affair in their previous encounter, the Chennai unit are placed at the pole position in the points table with 18 points in 13 matches. The match will start at 04.00 pm.
Assured of a playoff berth, Chennai Super Kings will aim to maintain pole position on the points table when they clash with a beleaguered Kings XI Punjab on Sunday (May 5).
In what will be both sides’ last game of the group stage, Chennai will want to sign off with a win and ensure a top-two finish while Punjab will hope to end a disappointing campaign on a high.
Chennai will be on a high having served Delhi a severe thrashing. Suresh Raina, who has had an iffy season so far, finally found some form as he slammed a quick-fire half-century while MS Dhoni smashed an unbeaten 22-ball 44 to take the side to 179/4. Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir then shared seven wickets between them to bundle Delhi out for just 99.
Dhoni and Raina are in good touch but Chennai will be fretting on the form of Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis. With the qualifiers not too far away the visitors will hope the batting order fires in unison and hit their straps before the playoffs.
Punjab, on the other hand, already out of the play-offs race after a seven-wicket loss at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders would be playing only for pride. With 10 points from 13 games, they are at seventh spot, a rung above bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore.
It has been a frustrating season for the R Ashwin-led team. They showed patches of brilliance in a few games but often lost the key moments. Ashwin admitted that the powerplay has been his team’s “massive problem”.