It has been a nightmarish season for Chennai in the 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League. From having two of their star players in Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh out even before the first match to facing their first-ever failure to make the playoffs, it’s been a rough road for the three-time champions.
However, there’s still a chance to go out with a bang, in their final match of the season on Sunday against a Punjab side that has to win and, thanks to a negative NRR, win big to assure their playoff spot.
Chennai to finally end their misery or go out with a bang?
Chennai is currently placed at the bottom of the table, which is a very rare sight in the Indian T20 League. This season, they have won just five matches and have 10 points from 13 games played. However, while exiting the season with a win will be a positive takeaway, they will have still won only six matches this season, which is the least matches won in an Indian T20 League season by Chennai.
|Chennai at different venues in Indian T20 League 2020|
Sunday’s match against Punjab will be the last game for Chennai this season and the last time these two teams met. On that occasion, Chennai defeated Punjab by a 10-wicket margin. That was at Dubai, where Chennai have the highest winning percentage, winning four of their seven games played. However, Sunday’s match will be held at Abu Dhabi, where they have a 33 percent win record this season.
Players to watch:
Chennai – Sam Curran
While this Indian T20 League season was not a good one for Chennai, they sure have one positive takeaway and that is the outstanding performance of Sam Curran, who has been a highly impressive all-rounder for them. He has scored 186 runs off 141 balls faced at a strike rate of 131.91 for this season and batted at various positions as per the requirement of the team.
Apart from his batting, he has contributed with his bowling as well. With 13 wickets scalped this season, he is the leading wicket-taker for Chennai in Indian T20 League. He has bowled most of his overs in Powerplay and been economical but it's not where he shines, having only picked up three wickets in that phase of the innings, while 62 percent of his total wickets have come during the death overs (16-20), where he has been the leading wicket-taker for Chennai, scalping eight wickets and has the second-best bowling SR in death overs after Dwayne Bravo (min 30 balls). Who better to watch out for in their final match of the season than Curran then?
Punjab – Ravi Bishnoi
Ravi Bishnoi has been a revelation for Punjab this season, picking up 12 wickets - the second-most by a bowler this season. However, he has been a bit under par in the last six matches, going wicketless in three matches. Let us see what has changed as the season has progressed.
|Ravi Bishnoi First 7 vs Last 6 matches|
|First 7 matches||Metrics||Last 6 matches|
He has picked up four wickets at an economy of 6.25 but failed to produce a three-wicket innings in the last six innings. Moreover, his average has increased from 26.5 in the first seven matches to 31.25 in the last six matches.
Bishnoi will therefore be one to keep an eye on in this critical match for Punjab, along with fellow spin twin Murugan Ashwin, both of whom, it has to be said, have been pivotal in Punjab’s success so far.
Stats to watch out for:
2: Times Chris Gayle has been dismissed by Karn Sharma in four balls faced
4: Number of sixes required by Chris Gayle to become the leading six-hitter for Punjab in the Indian T20 League
5: Wickets needed by Mitchell Santner to complete 100 T20 wickets
15: Runs needed by Ruturaj Gaikwad to complete 1000 T20 runs
23: Runs required by Nicholas Pooran to reach 3000 T20 runs
107: Runs required by KL Rahul to 2000 runs for Punjab, will be the first Indian and 2nd overall to reach this milestone
While Chennai are no doubt the sentimental favourites, it'd take a brave soul to bet against a stout Punjab side that's chomping at the bit to earn their playoff pass on the night, and so Punjab it is.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain