Mumbai: Buoyed by their convincing seven-wicket win over title holders Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings will take on Kings XI Punjab in their second IPL knockout game inside three days here Friday with swashbuckling batsman Glenn Maxwell being a major threat to their chances.
Riding on the 25-year-old Australian batsman's incandescent 90-plus run knocks in Abu Dhabi and Cuttack in the group stage of the T20 League, Kings XI Punjab had flattened two-time champions Chennai Super Kings.
Friday's Qualifier 2, the penultimate IPL-7 match, at the Wankhede Stadium will provide Chennai a great platform to avenge those two defeats and leapfrog into the June 1 summit clash against Kolkata Knight Riders at Bangalore.
However, to achieve the feat of entering the final for the sixth time, Chennai will have to stop Maxwell, who simply tore into their bowlers, especially two key spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on the two previous occasions.
Maxwell, the third highest run-getter with 539 runs this season, smashed 95 in 43 balls in Abu Dhabi last month to help Punjab chase down a massive 206-run target set up by the Super Kings. The Victorian was even more dominating in their subsequent clash earlier this month at Cuttack, where he hit a whirlwind 90 off just 35 balls to power Punjab to an incredible score of 231.
Ashwin was smashed for 38 runs without a wicket in just two overs by Maxwell, while Jadeja conceded 37 runs in three overs without any success.
The destruction of these two Super Kings' bowlers by Maxwell will certainly come up for discussion by the Super Kings' think-tank ahead of their do-or-die encounter.