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MS Dhoni’s team, despite their daunting record in the IPL, haven’t looked dominating in their four matches this season. But they will be confident thanks to their stupendous performance in their previous match when they chased down 206 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Pune Warriors India have two wins from their three outings. However, they were bowled out for 115 – their lowest total in the IPL – in their previous match against Kings XI Punjab. Captain Sourav Ganguly was critical of the shots played by the PWI batsmen in that match, and it will be interesting to see how the batting unit lifts its game in this match.
Saturday, April 14, 2011, 08:00 p.m.
Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, Pune
Out of the several established batsmen in the PWI ranks, keep a close watch on the explosive duo of Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa. Though the former has done little in the competition so far, CSK will know he is waiting to explode. The latter has been in good form this season, and has been scoring runs in IPL 2012. But he will also be aware of the fact that he has been guilty of not converting starts.
The Chennai Super Kings will be delighted that Faf du Plessis has made up – to a certain extent – for the absence of absence of Mike Hussey at the top of the order. Suresh Raina, who is the leading run-getter in the IPL, also has looked out of sorts. His aggregate of 92 runs in four innings doesn’t do justice to his talent and reputation.
MS Dhoni, who has often come in for criticism for batting lower down the order, promoted himself to No.4 in the previous match against RCB. That order – of Raina (at No.3), Dhoni, Bravo (at No.5) and Albie Morkel (at No.6) – gave the batting line-up a very formidable look. They will hopefully have learnt about their optimum batting line-up after that match and stick to it. Previous Meetings
Pune Warriors Indiaare still looking for their first win over the Chennai Super Kings. In the two meetings between the teams so far, CSK have been convincing winners both times. In the first meeting at the MA Chidambaram Stadium last year, CSK successfully defended 142 to win by 25 runs; while in their return fixture they chased down 142 to win convincingly by 8 wickets.
Pune Warriors India’s Alfonso Thomas is placed second in the list of leading wicket-takers in Twenty20 cricket. The 35-year-old, who has appeared in 134 Twenty20 matches, has bagged 156 wickets and is second behind Dirk Nannes (178 wickets).
If CSK’s Albie Morkel plays in this match, he will surpass David Hussey’s record to become the most-capped player in Twenty20 cricket. What next?
Following this clash, Sourav Ganguly’s Pune Warriors India will undertake their first journey towards Southern India this season when they travel to Bengaluru to take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 17. Meanwhile, MS Dhoni and co. will enjoy a brief break from action before they host PWI in their return fixture on April 19.
Knight Riders host Rajasthan Royals in mid-table clash
By IPL desk
Mumbai 12 April 2012
The Kolkata Knight Riders will be relieved that they’ve finally lived up to the billing of serious title contenders. Gautam Gambhir’s boys lost their first two matches, but decimated the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous match and they will be look to build on that victory when they take on Rahul Dravid’s Rajasthan Royals in Match 15 of DLF IPL 2012.
The Rajasthan Royals lack the star power of their opponents, but they’ve certainly gone about winning matches silently. They won their first two matches convincingly and then put up a stiff fight in what was seen as an improbable run-chase against the Mumbai Indians. Though they went down, Dravid’s boys will take a lot of positives from their performance in that match.
Friday, April 13, 2011, 08:00 p.m.
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
In a format like Twenty20, it is imperative that the best batsmen in the team get more time in the middle. And it was therefore important that Gautam Gambhir walked up to open the innings for KKR – as much for scoring big runs as for leading by example.
Brendon McCullum was left out in the previous clash. Given his experience and reputation, it will be interesting to see if KKR can make place for him in the playing 11. The tournament hasn’t seen too much from the big-hitting Yusuf Pathan either; the Baroda lad has only managed 16 runs in three innings, and this could just turn out to be his match.
Ajinkya Rahane has been the most impressive of the young Indian batsman in this IPL season. The Rajasthan Royals opening batsman – who is the current Orange Cap holder – has been a treat to the eyes. He has played shots that are straight out of the coaching manual to score his runs.
Look out for Owais Shah who has looked in good touch in each of the three. His 42-ball 76 gave his team a realistic chance of overhauling MI’s 197 in the previous match. Having found his form early in the tournament, RR will hope he can carry it through the rest of the competition. Previous Meetings
These two teams have met on nine occasions so far, and there’s very little that separates them. Both teams have won four contests apiece, while one fixture ended in a tie after both teams had scored 150 runs at the end of 20 overs. Yusuf Pathan then walked out to bat in the one-over eliminator and scored 17 runs off four deliveries to seal the deal for RR. Trivia
When Rajasthan Royals’ Brad Hogg (41 years) took the field in the previous match against the Mumbai Indians, he became the oldest player to debut in the IPL.
Rajasthan Royals’ Brad Hodge holds the record the most 50-plus scores in Twenty20 cricket; he’s scored 31 50s in his 142 Twenty20 innings. What next?
After this fixture, the Kolkata Knight Riders will remain at home and prepare to host Kings XI Punjab on April 15, while the Rajasthan Royals will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore – also on April 15.