It will be the Kings' task not to give them one. One could argue that Punjab were groping for a footing rather than stomping their foot down confidently, which is why they slipped to 9/4 against PWI. Now it is time to shirk off those initial jitters and step up to the plate in a match that could very well determine Punjab's success curve throughout the rest of the tournament. The onus is on the top order that failed miserably in their last match to give their side a more solid start from where a more than capable middle order can build on.
One saw the grit of Ryan McLaren fight off the odds to mount a counter-attack and notch up a defiant, unbeaten 51. One even saw flashes of intent and determination from his fellow middle-order colleagues Sunny Singh and Abhishek Nayar until a unwarranted rush of blood led to their undoing. It is clear the side just needs more substance from their batsman in terms of runs and direction in pacing the innings. Too many bats are prone to getting out to silly shots.
But the Kings need to improve not just their batting, but their bowling and fielding as well. None of their bowlers were very intimidating and even though 3 of the 5 bowlers took a wicket each, they were too expensive for a team defending a small total. It might help Punjab's cause if they were to bowl first as then a target might spur their batsman on towards following a structure and pattern in their approach towards chasing it down.
In the meantime, Chennai might want to tighten up some screws and make sure their top order fires as a unit, considering their opening stalwart Murali Vijay missed out the last time around. Suresh Raina seems to have regained the touch that eluded him on India's tour of South Africa at the turn of the year and which he rediscovered partially during the recently-concluded World Cup. And M S Dhoni too appears to be in reasonably good knick. But the bulk of the dependency for reaching a big total or chasing down the same will fall on the shoulders of Srikkanth Anirudha, who has sent out a strong message with his robust 64 off 55 balls in the match against Kolkata.
But the real trump card for Chennai is their spin trio of R Ashwin, Suraj Randiv and Shadab Jakati, who collectively bowled at just over 7 runs an over and picked up a wicket each. They are sure to try their darnedest at bamboozling the Punjab batsmen, who haven't had much practice against spinners considering many of them were sent back by the Pune pacers up front.