CSK will seek revenge for their IPL 7 loss in the second eliminator against KXIP © PTI
CSK will seek revenge for their IPL 7 loss in the second eliminator against KXIP © PTI

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) face-off in a knockout match for the second time in a matter of few months. This Champions League T20 2014 (CLT20) semi-final clash will have plenty of battles to watch out for. Abhijit Banare lists some of  them.

1. Glenn Maxwell vs Ravichandran Ashwin: There will be no love lost between the two when they clash once again tonight. Maxwell, like his uncomplicated batting style had no qualms of saying he can score off Ashwin. The off-spinner was indeed taken apart by Maxwell in the past. But Ashwin had some tough words to say before the second Indian Premier League 7 (IPL) Qualifier. Maxwell had hammered him for a six but was dismissed in the same over and Ashwin gave him a neat send-off. Ashwin’s fascination with the carrom ball gives Maxwell the angle required to slog over midwicket and his off-spinners too allow the right-hander to make use of smashing with the turn. Unfortunately, Maxwell is not in the same form as he was in the IPL. Would be interesting to see what he has to offer. The rivalry resumes.

2. CSK middle-order vs Akshar Patel: In many high-scoring matches, Akshar Patel has risen to the occasion and has been economical. Tonight he will have to prove it once again bowling to the likes of a free-flowing Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis and maybe even bowl to MS Dhoni. Another bowler, this CSK middle-order could face is Thisara Perera who has filled up the fifth-bowler slot effectively for George Bailey.

3. Virender Sehwag/Manan Vohra vs Ashish Nehra/Mohit Sharma: A good opening pair is often the key to any team’s success. Both teams have  solid opening pairs. The last time when these two teams had met, Sehwag stunned everyone with that blistering hundred, while Vohra is in much better form than Sehwag. Together they have the potential to slaughter the opposition. They will be up against Nehra and Mohit. Nehra has been impressive in this tournament and Mohit has often struck early. Given their recent record, Dhoni would not mind experimenting with Ravindra Jadeja at the start or his usual go-to option in Ashwin as opening bowler.

4. Dwayne Smith/Brendon McCullum vs Parvinder Awana/Anureet Singh: In the reverse battle, CSK’s powerful openers will look to hammer a relatively inexperienced Punjab bowling. Despite lack of experience, KXIP bowlers have put up an inspirational performance. So it won’t be easy for McCullum-Smith combo. If CSK happen to chase, then this opening pair can potentially determine the eventual outcome with their blistering starts.

5. MS Dhoni vs Anureet Singh: The youngster who replaced Sandeep Sharma has bowled well in the death overs. But bowling to Dhoni at this time of the match is one of the toughest challenges in cricket these days. It would be too much to ask from the youngster to contain a batsman like Dhoni, but his confidence will zoom up if he indeed succeeds against the CSK skipper.

6. David Miller/Thisara Perera vs CSK’s death overs bowlers: If CSK have a finisher in Dhoni, then KXIP have a pack of them in George Bailey, Thisara Perera and David Miller. CSK’s weakest link has been their bowling. Dhoni has repeatedly expressed concerns about bowlers failing to keep things tight. He has even gone to the extent of dropping Faf du Plessis to draft in an extra bowler in the form of John Hastings. This time CSK are up against a side which has scored over 200 every time they played each other in this year’s IPL.  To make things even more difficult for CSK, KXIP also has a  certain Wriddhiman Saha who can play big knocks under pressure like he did against Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 7 final.

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter)