Mumbai: Chennai Super Kings will welcome the return of star all-rounder Moeen Ali as they eye a much improved batting performance in the IPL clash against Lucknow Super Giants here on Thursday.
Both the teams come into the game after a loss in their respective opening matches. A common factor in their defeats were the failure of the top-order and they would be looking to correct that at the Brabourne Stadium.
It is still very early days in the two-month long IPL but the toss is already playing a significant role in the game’s outcome. With the second innings dew in mind, teams are preferring to put the opposition in.
The losses for CSK and LSG came after batting first at the Wankhede. Conditions are not expected to be very different at the nearby CCI ground with heavy dew likely to set in the second half of the game.
Lucknow skipper KL Rahul and star opener Quinton De Kock had a forgettable outing on Monday and they would be keen to get some runs under their belt. Rahul needs to lead from the front with the IPL presenting a big test for his captaincy skills.
Seasoned campaigner Manish Pandey and Evin Lewis, who is a hard-hitting batter, on their day can take any attack to cleaners, had a forgettable outing and the team management would hope that they come to the party.
Lucknow would be pleased that their middle-order comprising Deepak Hooda, debutant Ayush Badoni and Krunal Pandya clicked when their top-order collapsed and the trio would again need to shoulder the responsibility.
But it was the Lucknow bowling, which would need to quickly forget the hammering they received at the hands of Gujarat. While pacer Dushmantha Chameera was right on the money, co-pacer Avesh Khan leaked 33 runs in 3.4 overs.
Also the role of spin trio of Ravi Bishnoi, Hooda and Krunal, could decide the match’s fate.
CSK would also look to put up a much better show with the bat after they managed only 131 in the first game. With Moeen Ali, a pinch-hitter available for selection alongside Dwaine Pretorius, they would indeed heave a sigh of relief.
In the first game, save a vintage Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the other batters faltered be it Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, Devon Conway or Ambati Rayadu.
New skipper Ravindra Jadeja would also be keen to get a big score individually and ditto for Shivam Dube, who is racing against time to prove his worth on the IPL stage.
But it remains to be seen who CSK leave out to include Moeen, who can come in at number three.
While all-rounder Dwayne Bravo claimed three wickets against KKR, others leaked runs and all of them would need to fire in unison.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja (Captain), Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Ambati Rayadu, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Santner, Chris Jordan, Adam Milne, Devon Conway, Shivam Dube, Dwaine Pretorius, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Tushar Deshpande, KM Asif, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Subranshu Senapati, K Bhagath Verma, Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh, Mukesh Choudhary.
Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (Captain), Manan Vohra, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey, Quinton De Kock, Ravi Bishnoi, Dushmantha Chameera, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohsin Khan, Mayank Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Andrew Tye, Marcus Stoinis, Kyle Mayers, Karan Sharma, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ayush Badoni, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya. Jason Holder.
Match starts at 7.30 PM.