Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings not only finished the last edition on either ends of the points table, but they also represent different philosophies. While KXIP have been at their frugal best in terms of signing up new players, CSK have splurging money in strengthening their squad.
Punjab once owned an array of stars including Brett Lee, Yuvraj Singh and Stuart Board but over the last two editions, the squad has completely changed. Banking on domestic players, mostly from Punjab, they have added a few veterans to support the novices. This outlook might go against the grain of being a team based in Punjab -- a land known for lavish lifestyles and big spending. On the other hand, CSK have always got their man whatever the amount they have had to cough up. Punjab are yet to reap dividends for their choices, and whatever they have achieved has been a collective effort. CSK, on the other hand, have banked on these mega buck stars to guide them to two league titles.
Last year, it was combination of medium pacer Parwinder Awana, then very much an unknown entity, Mandeep Singh and Gurkeerat Mann, who guided Punjab to some memorable wins.
This year, it's has been a good beginning with Adam Gilchrist and Co demolishing Pune Warriors in the first match. KXIP will take a lot of confidence from the way their first-class cricketers handled themselves. Mandeep, the highest run-getter for KXIP last season, looked in good touch while Manan Vohra made his league debut in style. Their bowling also looked good with the pace of Ryan Harris adding bite to it. The pacers will look forward to an outing on the Mohali track.
Less than a month after clinching the Test series against Australia, Dhoni is back in Mohali for a different battle. After playing a lone hand in the 9-run loss to the Mumbai Indians, Dhoni will expect more from his team. In the past, CSK have always managed to force results when it matters the most. But the likes of Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja will have to fire while the bowlers, who did a fine job in the last match, will certainly relish the pace and bounce that the venue has to offer. After being outwitted by one Aussie great Ricky Pointing, Dhoni now faces the Adam Gilchrist challenge.