Punjab Kings were lucky to win their first match of the tournament. They were within one Sanju Samson hit of seeing their 222-run target tracked down. Their batting had done quite well, especially captain KL Rahul and middle-order batsman Deepak Hooda. Rahul had smashed a 50-ball 90 and Hooda’s whirlwind 64 off just 28 deliveries had given Punjab a sizable tally.
In the bowling department, Mohammad Shami and Arshdeep Singh were the standout performers for Punjab, taking two and three wickets each. The other three bowlers, though, were pretty ordinary, combining to leak a total of 147 runs in their allotted 12 overs.
The Kings have a decent batting unit, which also boasts Chris Gayle aka the Universe Boss. However, their bowling is missing a true superstar and it could see them concede more runs than they like as the tournament progresses and the legs get heavier.
Chennai Super Kings, the three-time former champions, had their worst-ever campaign last season, finishing second-last on the points table. Their bid to get back among the contenders this year got off to a bad start as they lost their tournament opener Delhi Capitals, whose opening pairing of Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan proved the difference.
Where the Capitals’ openers had formed a 138-run stand in the successful run chase, CSK’s starting duo of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis had failed miserably, contributing a 5 and a duck respectively. If it wasn’t for the middle-order’s rescue act, the match could have been far more lopsided.
The other cause of concern for the MD Dhoni-led side was their bowling. Chris Woakes and Avish Khan were excellent but everyone else was taken for runs at will.
Against Punjab’s stacked top-order, CSK ball hurlers will have to be on their game.