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Match 41 of DLF IPL 2012 will see two heavyweights – the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders – face off.
Though they have four wins in their kitty, the defending champions have been far from convincing so far. In two out of their four victories – against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Rajasthan Royals – they’ve barely scraped past the finish line. On the other hand, in three out of their four defeats, they’ve been no match for their opponents.
MS Dhoni and co. started with an enviable home record, but defeats in two home matches this season (including against Kings XI Punjab in their previous match) should rattle them.
The Kolkata Knight Riders were slow off the blocks – losing their first two matches, but have since won five and lost one seven matches. They will come into this contest as a confident unit after they demolished the formidable-looking Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous match.
Monday, April 30, 2012, 08:00 p.m.
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
The Chennai Super Kings will be aware that they have a few problems to address. Faf du Plessis has been the only shining light in a batting line-up that hasn’t fired to its potential. The miserable form of Suresh Raina is hurting the team badly, while the lack of potency among the bowlers – especially the slower bowlers – must be a worry for the defending champions. Between R Ashwin, Shadab Jakati and Suresh Raina, CSK have only bagged eight wickets in nine matches at the rate of 48 runs per wicket. The corresponding numbers during last season were 34 wickets in 16 matches at the rate of 27 runs per wicket.
Gautam Gambhir has been his team’s best batsman by a mile; the KKR skipper was in spectacular form in the previous match when he creamed the RCB bowlers for a career-best 93. He will continue to be the most important name in the KKR batting line-up, while the likes of Brendon McCullum and Jacques Kallis have enough experience to play more than just support roles.
The form of Yusuf Pathan should be a reason for KKR to worry. The big-hitter looks a pale shadow of the destructive player he is known to be; he’s scored only 36 runs in seven innings (at a strike-rate of 92.30) and has only picked up one wicket. Given his talent and temperament, one can be sure he is a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode, and that the day he fires he will blow away the opposition.
The Chennai Super Kings have a 5-2 win-loss record from eight matches against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the previous seasons. While MS Dhoni’s men won both matches against KKR in IPL 2008 and IPL 2010, both teams won their respective home matches in IPL 2011.
In IPL 2009 in South Africa, the first meeting between the two teams at Cape Town was washed out by rains, while the Kolkata Knight Riders emerged triumphant in the second meeting at the Centurion.
Chennai Super Kings’ Suresh Raina is the only player to score more than 400 runs in every season of the IPL.
Among Indian cricketers, KKR’s Yusuf Pathan has hit the most sixes in Twenty20 cricket (131), while CSK’s Suresh Raina is second in the list with 121 hits over the fence.
The Chennai Super Kings will play their third consecutive home fixture when they take on the Deccan Chargers on May 4. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders head back home for a four-day break before hosting the Pune Warriors India on May 5.
Match 40 of DLF IPL 2012 will see the Mumbai Indians take on the Deccan Chargers.
Though it’s past the half-way stage, both these teams are yet to find any kind of rhythm and are placed in the bottom half of the table. The Deccan Chargers will come into this contest with a bit of confidence after registering their first victory of the season in their last outing. The Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, will need to recover from the thrashing they received at the hands of the Delhi Daredevils. When
Sunday, April 29, 2012, 08:00 p.m.
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Apart from the usual suspect – Sachin Tendulkar – who is under the spotlight every time he takes the field, MI will need match-winning knocks from Rohit Sharma. They have shown a lot of faith in him and have promoted him to the crucial No.3 position; and it is about time he starts delivering. The 24-year-old – the team’s leading run-getter – has looked in good touch when he has got going, but he needs to realize that all that talent at his disposal will come to naught if he does not apply himself in the middle.
Apart from the one match-winning half-century against the Rajasthan Royals, there is very little else that the explosive Kieron Pollard has done this season. In his last four knocks, the Trinidadian has aggregated 27 runs at a strike-rate of 93. For a player who can cause a lot of damage in very little time, Pollard needs to perform better than he’s done in his last four innings.
Also look out for the fiery face-off between Dale Steyn and Lasith Malinga – two of the most difficult bowlers to face no matter the format of the game.
Prior to the start of IPL 2012, the Mumbai Indians and the Deccan Chargers had met eight times and both teams had won four matches apiece.
The head-to-head has swayed slightly in favour of the Mumbai Indians after their meeting at Visakhapatnam earlier this season. On that occasion, the Deccan Chargers posted 138 for nine batting first and dominated the match for most parts before being pipped at the post by MI. The visitors needed 18 of the last over – a target that came down to three off the last ball (after Rohit Sharma and James Franklin had found the boundary twice in the first four deliveries). Sharma rose to the challenge and clubbed Daniel Christian for a huge six over long-on to seal the deal for his team. Trivia
The Deccan Chargers have scored the fewest boundaries in IPL 2012. They’ve only hit 102 boundaries (70 fours and 32 sixes) in their six matches. What next?
Both teams will play the Pune Warriors India next. While the Deccan Chargers will square off against PWI at their adopted home ground (Barabati Stadium in Cuttack) on May 1, the Mumbai Indians will travel to Pune on May 3 for their away leg.