KXIP will play CSK for the fourth time in  2014 © IANS
KXIP will play CSK for the fourth time in 2014 © IANS (File Photo)

By Sameer Jha

Oct 1, 2014

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will face Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the second semi-final of Champions League Twenty 20 (CLT20) 2014. The two teams met thrice in the last edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) and KXIP emerged victorious in all three times. All three games saw explosive batting performances, and 200 plus totals were achieved in five of the six innings played.

For KXIP, Glenn Maxwell will be a key batsman, as he enjoyed batting against the CSK bowlers during this year’s IPL. Maxwell scored 95 in 43 balls in their first encounter, and 90 in 38 balls in their second encounter. The Australian hasn’t really got going in this tournament, despite looking threatening in patches. However, considering his form against CSK, it is quite possible that the law of averages works in his favour during the all-important semi-final. His rivalry with Ravichandran Ashwin (the CSK spinner gave Maxwell a flying kiss after dismissing him in the playoffs) will be one of the key battles to watch out for.

In the IPL playoffs, Suresh Raina had almost taken the game away from KXIP, before a misunderstanding with Brendon McCullum and a superb throw by George Bailey saw him being run out. Raina was looking in magical touch, and it seemed as if he was clearing the boundary at will. KXIP’s mammoth total of 226 set with the help of a delightful Virender Sehwag century, looked hugely insufficient for as long as Raina was on crease. He will be another player to watch out for in the semi-finals.

CSK’s bowling will rely heavily on the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, as well as the experience of Ashish Nehra. Ashwin bowled superbly in their last match against Perth Scorchers, finishing with figures of three for 20. 35-year-old Nehra rolled back the clock and took four wickets for 21 runs against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Two of those wickets (Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey) came in two consecutive deliveries. He’ll certainly receive a stiffer test from the likes of Sehwag, Maxwell and David Miller.

In the final analysis, both teams are extremely strong on talent as well as team spirit. It should be a great game of cricket, and one thing is certain – whatever total the team batting first sets, the team batting second can chase it down.

Squads:

Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey (c) , Virender Sehwag, David Miller, Glenn Maxwell , Akshar Patel, Mitchell Johnson, Manan Vohra, Mandeep Singh, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Karanveer Singh, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Thisara Perera, Rishi Dhawan, Anureet Singh, Parvinder Awana.

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c&wk), Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishwar Pandey, Ashish Nehra, Mithun Manhas, Pawan Negi Mohit Sharma, John Hastings, Samuel Badree.

Time: 14:30 GMT | 20:00 local

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Sameer Jha is a reporter at CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter at @SameerJha_)