All for Lahore to lose
Match factsNov 9, 2008
Start time 7.30pm (1400 GMT)
The Big PictureThe 36th and final game of the league stage is no dead-rubber; it should be a keen contest between two of the ICL's top-performing teams. Chennai Superstars need a win to finish at the top of the table. For Lahore Badshahs, a win will guarantee them a spot in the semi-finals, but a big loss could mean an early exit for one of the pre-tournament favourites.
Lahore are currently tied on eight points with Dhaka Warriors, and Chandigarh Lions could join them if they win their encounter against Ahmedabad Rockets - which is the first of the two games on Sunday. But Lahore have the net run-rate in their favour at the moment, and could choose for damage control in case the match goes out of grasp, to ensure their net run-rate doesn't slip below any of the other two contenders. In their last game, a must-win contest, they stepped it up against Dhaka, but Chennai should be a much tougher opposition: they have won five games out of seven so far, and they don't rely heavily on just a few players; it's teamwork that's got them to the semi-finals.
Where they rankChennai are virtually assured of the second spot, and a win will move them up to No. 1. It's Lahore, in fourth place, who must do the running in order to avoid slipping out of the semi-final positions.
Form guide (last five matches, most recent first)Chennai - LWWWL
Lahore - WWLWW
- Mohammad Yousuf started off his ICL stint with a bang, hitting three fours off the first three balls he faced. Continuing in the same vein for a bigger score would have silenced the critics on his Twenty20 abilities, but his four-ball 12 puts on right on top on the batsmen with the highest strike-rate in this tournament.
- Ian Harvey's strike-rate of 184.21 isn't far behind Yousuf, but with 105 runs in five innings, it's been a less-than-average tournament with the bat for the leading run-getter in the ICL - Harvey has 665 at an average of 31.66.
- Imran Nazir has 13 sixes in the tournament. Can he get six more on Sunday to overtake Alok Kapali as the leading six-hitter?
Players to watchAfter missing their first three games, Hemang Badani has performed splendidly for Chennai. He scored two fifties in four games, and will want to score one more to put his team on top of the table.
Saqlain Mushtaq made the doosra popular the world over. He has now come up with another variation, the teesra: at the point of release, his palm faces towards midwicket instead of cover, which would be the normal position when bowling the conventional offbreak and doosra to a right-hand batsman. He then rolls his fingers over the seam, and the delivery works more like a topspinner. Batsmen will surely be checking out videos to figure this one out.
Quotes"I have done well with the bat but I am not fully satisfied with my overall performance. I feel I am way below my own benchmark and working hard to get there."
Chennai allrounder G Vignesh looks to improve
"The team sets targets in every area of the game and then each player identifies his role in it. All of us work hard and we are lucky to have experienced players in our side. We do not concentrating on just winning matches but executing the job assigned to us. Most importantly, what I feel is that we have done well in executing our plans."
It's all going according to plan, Vignesh reveals