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After Saturday’s thrilling win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Chennai Super Kings will be an all-charged up unit when they host Pune Warriors India in Match 19 of Pepsi IPL 2013.
After a defeat in their opening match, CSK have recovered well to post two wins in a row. They will look to carry forward the momentum they have from those two wins when they take on Pune Warriors India, who suffered a 41-run defeat in the Maharashtrian Derby on Saturday.
Monday, April 15, 2013, 8 p.m
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
The strength of the Chennai Super Kings has remained the same over the last few seasons. In Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey, the team have an experienced opening pair who know exactly what is expected of them. Suresh Raina has had a silent IPL so far (by his standards at least) and he will be itching to unleash himself. MS Dhoni’s exploits with the bat need no introduction; among the best finishers in the world, the CSK skipper has been in smashing form this season. Dhoni has scored 84 runs off 49 deliveries this season which includes five sixes and six fours.
On the bowling front, Chris Morris has done enough to keep the experienced Albie Morkel out of the team. He, together with Dirk Nannes and R Ashwin, will be the key personnel in CSK’s bowling plans.
Yuvraj Singh’s reputation as a destructive batsman needs no introduction. Pune Warriors India will be very well served if their openers Robin Uthappa and Aaron Finch lay the platform at the top of the innings. The team also needs to consider its combination of foreign players; Steve Smith – who did very well for the team last season - has to find a place in the XI.
The Chennai Super Kings have a definite edge when it comes to their contests against Pune Warriors India. They two-time IPL champions have defeated the Pune franchise in three of the four meetings between the two teams. Last season, both teams did well in their respective home matches; while PWI chased down 155 and registered a convincing 7-wicket win at home, CSK defended 164 in their home fixture to win by 13 runs.
Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni holds the record for the most stumpings in the IPL; 18 of his 50 dismissals in the IPL have come in the form of stumpings.
R Ashwin’s 52 wickets in the IPL include 23 wickets of opening batsmen.
After back to back home fixtures, Chennai Super Kings will hit the road for back-to-back away games. Their first stop will be the national capital, where they take on the Delhi Daredevils on April 18. Pune Warriors India will head back home to take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 17.
Although both the teams come into Sunday’s contest on the back of losses, the Rajasthan Royals will draw on the confidence of pulling off a thriller the last time they played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium (against the Kolkata Knight Riders). They will also take assurance from the fact that they have won six of the nine games that they have played against the Kings XI Punjab.
After training in the evening ahead of the match, RR’s Owais Shah spoke to the media at the pre-match press conference in Jaipur. He said that all the players are fit and the Royals’ will decide on the playing eleven tomorrow. “Shane Watson was not fit in the last match but at the moment as far as I am concerned and as far as we have been told everyone is fit to play. And the coaches and captain will pick (the playing eleven) from a fit squad,” he stated.
Asked about him yet to get a game in the Pepsi Indian Premier League, he said, “There are still 13 games to be played. It is still early days in the tournament. Of course it is frustrating when you are not playing, but you just have to be patient. The rule says only four overseas players are allowed (in a match). The management has decided to go with a particular set of players. We have done reasonably well. We have won two out of three games and you just have to wait your turn. I have to train hard and make sure I am ready (to play and perform) when I get the opportunity and hopefully I will get an opportunity later on in the tournament.”
Asked about their loss in the previous game, he said, “We didn’t get enough runs and full credit to Pune Warriors India who came out really positive and played really well. They deserved to win that game because they played better cricket. I wasn’t part of the playing eleven, but watching the game and with my own experience (I can say) we were possibly 15 to 20 runs short. When you are losing games there are similar patterns like losing wickets at key stages and things like that, but that is part of cricket and hopefully we can learn from that. And I guess we need to perhaps bowl a bit better. We Just have to play a bit better and we would have competed with them.”
“As far as the Rajasthan Royals are concerned we just have to regroup and get back to winning ways. We have had a wonderful start this year. We have won two of the three games we have played. We have won one home game where we played really well and I hope we can continue the form and hopefully we can do that tomorrow.”
“In a twenty20 match, 20 runs are a lot and make a lot of difference. If we can make those extra 20 runs and get a partnership going in the middle we will end up with 170. If you make that on this ground you should generally win nine times out of ten. You cannot just expect your bowlers to win you a game with 140 runs and every time you cannot get a magic spell. So yes, our batsmen have to put their hands up and get a proper score going,” he observed while reflecting on the batting.
Discussing the batting further when asked if the middle-order was a concern, Shah explained, “I wouldn’t say that it is that obvious a thing that we are losing our way after the start. I think we have had wonderful starts. I think credit must be given to Rahul Dravid who as we know is a wonderful batsman and he is just proving how good he is even in twenty20 cricket. He has been in wonderful form and I guess for me twenty20 is a game where a person who is playing well on that day just has to continue playing well. For us Rahul being a wonderful player that he is, he has been in really good form and if he just keeps continuing playing well we can all play around him and hopefully we can all try and negotiate, lose less wickets in the middle part and get bigger partnerships going. But we are trying hard and I still think we have got a good formula going at the moment; we just have to be patient. It was just one loss away from home and hopefully we can get back to winning ways tomorrow against Kings XI Punjab.”
Speaking about the opposition, Shah said, “Kings XI Punjab has a good team. They have very good players like Adman Gilchrist, Azhar Mahmood but we concentrate on our team – Rahul Dravid, Shaun Tait and people like that. We don’t know who will play tomorrow but who ever will play will play well and we will definitely come out on the winning side.”