The situation is trickier in the CSK corner with injuries to a number of their frontline pacers. Deepak Chahar won’t be available before April-end, Adam Milne suffered an injury after the first game against KKR while Chris Jordan is recovering from a tonsil infection that kept him in hospital for six days.
Playing with rookies hasn’t been CSK’s strong suit over the years, but they have been forced to do that with Tushar Deshpande and Mukesh Choudhary already given a go. They weren’t exactly impressive while relatively experienced Shivam Dube looked like a fish out of water at the death against Lucknow.
CSK are hoping that Jordan will be fit to accompany Dwayne Bravo and Dwaine Pretorius on Sunday, but the pacer still isn’t 100% ready. They have a couple of other young pacers like KM Asif and Rajvardhan Hangargekar in the line-up, but including them in the XI will be more like shuffling the pack with more hope than conviction.
After the Lucknow game, CSK coach Stephen Fleming made a pertinent point that it is becoming extremely difficult to defend totals with the ball getting so wet.
The Brabourne pitch, as per Thursday’s evidence, is a batting beauty and in such a scenario the toss becomes a little too crucial. CSK management felt that on Thursday, even 250 wouldn’t have been 100 % safe, and it’s unlikely to be much different against Punjab.
Punjab, the loss to KKR notwithstanding, have a few superb attacking batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan, Liam Livingstone and Shahrukh Khan. If any two of these four get going, especially in the second half when the dew sets in, it could be uphill for CSK.
“The spinners were taken out of the equation a little too early (against Lucknow) due to the wetness of the ball,” Fleming sounded a bit helpless, because his attack is highly dependent on the guile and experience of Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali –two seasoned T20 spinners.
Punjab, too, have their bowling woes, with pacer Kagiso Rabada and leggie Rahul Chahar the only ones with decent IPL experience. CSK will hope that their batters will feed off the inexperience of the Punjab bowling and do enough to give them the first win of the event.