But CSK can never be counted out. With Dhoni‘s overshadowing presence as a thinker and ‘keeper, it’s safe to assume that Jadeja hasn’t come into his own as CSK skipper. On the other hand, the responsibility of captaincy seems to have motivated Hardik Pandya to be more consistent (228 runs at an average of 76).
The positions of their teams couldn’t have been more contrasting either. With four wins and one defeat, Gujarat can afford to experiment keeping in mind the latter half of the tournament.
However, with one win and four defeats, CSK are not in the same boat and any more defeats will pinch them harder.
Thankfully for CSK, the toss is not that important at Gahunje, going by the results in five matches at the venue this season. But bowlers can hope to be in the game with a nice breeze on offer.
While this will be CSK’s first match in Pune this season, Gujarat had defeated Delhi Capitals by 14 runs here.
Technically it’s a home game for Gujarat but CSK players know the conditions here well. Dhoni was with the now-defunct Pune franchise in 2016 and 2017. Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad and left-arm pacer Mukesh Choudhary, being from Maharashtra, have a lot of experience of playing at this venue but not in a charged atmosphere.
Besides Hardik’s might, Gujarat will rely on home talent in batters Shubman Gill, Abhimanyu Manohar, left-arm pacer Yash Dayal and allrounder Tewatia.