Kings XI Punjab v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2011, Mohali April 12, 2011

Gilchrist's men seek turnaround


Match facts

Wednesday, April 13
Start time 1400 (1030 GMT)

Big picture

Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab finished at opposite ends of the spectrum last year, yet they produced two of the most memorable clashes of the season. First, both teams succumbed to the pressure of a tense finish to contrive a tie in Chennai, before Yuvraj Singh's nerveless reverse-sweep against Muttiah Muralitharan sealed it in the Super Over. Next, with a semi-final spot on the line for Chennai, MS Dhoni played out of his skin in Dharamsala, catapulting sixes into the adjoining hills, before jabbing his own helmet in a rare display of boxer-like emotions. Can we expect another close game this time?

That the best and worst teams of the season were separated by so little on the field was the USP of the first three seasons of the IPL. Going by the opening exchanges of 2011, things seem to have changed. The addition of two new teams has led to a visible dilution of talent, and Punjab might be one of the most severely affected. They are aiming at a reprisal of Deccan Chargers' successful 2009 strategy, and have put Adam Gilchrist in charge of a bunch of not-so-big names. Their hammering at the hands of Pune Warriors in their opening game was an apt indication of just how much they will have to lift.

Chennai have begun the season where they left off last year. They had no business winning their opening game after allowing Kolkata within nine runs of victory with eight balls left, but they kept hustling to pull off a last-ball win. The core of the team and the self-belief of 2010 was intact, and they did not let the absence of a few key players affect them. In Murali's absence, Suraj Randiv stepped up to send down doosras from round the wicket. In Doug Bollinger's absence, Tim Southee delivered a raft of made-to-order yorkers without breaking into a sweat. If Dhoni's yellow jerseys are to be beaten, Gichrist might have to roll back the years and do it all by himself.

Team talk

Barring injuries, Chennai are unlikely to meddle with the combination that worked well for them in the opening game. Scott Styris was not tried with the ball against Kolkata, but he might continue to play ahead of Faf du Plessis, given that Chennai have cover in the spin department.

If Ryan Harris is fit, he has to replace Nathan Rimmington in the Punjab side. With their middle order looking out of sorts against Pune, David Hussey or David Miller could hope to get a game.

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team selector.

In the spotlight

Chennai's decision to retain M Vijay ahead of the auction was a huge vote of confidence for a young batsman. Since then, Vijay has been prodigal with the opportunities that have come his way: his casual footwork led to failures in India's one-day series in South Africa, where a couple of strong performances could have earned him a World Cup spot. He got out playing another lazy shot in the opening over against Kolkata. Can he temper his elegant ways with some discipline at the crease?

Piyush Chawla got only one over in the thrashing against Pune, and in six balls he showcased all elements of his bowling. There was a rank short googly that was heaved for four, an over-pitched legspinner that was carved for six and a lovely wrong 'un that nearly sneaked in. It didn't get him a wicket though, and that over went for 12 runs. Chawla's inability to land six balls on a spot dogged him during the World Cup as well. Can he correct things against Chennai?

Prime numbers

  • In seven prior encounters between these sides, Chennai have won six times. The seventh match was tied before Punjab won in the Super Over
  • Adam Gilchrist only managed 289 runs in 16 matches in IPL 2010, with a solitary half-century
  • After Irfan Pathan, who took 15 wickets in IPL 2010, Piyush Chawla was Punjab's highest wicket-taker last year, with 12 scalps

The chatter

"It is a new and a tough challenge for me and I am ready for it. I am sure many teams will face the similar challenge due to the shuffling of players."
Adam Gilchrist knows his new team needs to rebuild from scratch

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 13, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    Prediction(13-04-11):- I will predict that csk and pune has 70% winning chance. So I am going with them.

  • avid on April 13, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    weakest team in IPl kings XI punjab by far

  • Dummy4 on April 13, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    Ipl 4 belong to kkr because of the batting attack of gambhir, kallis,haddin,pathan. In addition,bowler bowl well in first two matches still lee, shakib are too come. So, kkr has a vast chance of winning it....

  • Dummy4 on April 13, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    By looking at the recent form of Chitnis, I wonder how MI missed him. These australians are good. I am sure young indian players will excel under their captaincy. We have seen that in the case of Gilchrist and Warne's teams. Warne groomed players like Yusuf Pathan, Asnodkar, Pathan n thrivedi etc.. n Gilli gave very good opportunities to Suman, Rohit n others.

  • Lalith on April 13, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    This should be an easy win for Chennai as they have experience match winners. Gilly is old and cannot score runs.

  • varun on April 13, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    even this article seems to be flashy and cheap...just like the winning the world cup and witnessing great test series we have to witness this tiresome affair...and see a general good standard of journalism sink...a karbon kamaal loss

  • binu on April 13, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    Sidharth Chitnis was in great form during the domestic season.KingsXI should play him.

  • Hemanth on April 13, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    The MI and CSK management have shown professionalism and good knowledge of the game by retaining the their players/ auctioning them back for a higher price to maintain the core team who have gelled to together as a family and that would help them in winning or retaining the trophy unlike other team bosses who have just kept money/business above the game. This means it would take the revamped teams atleast 2 seasons to win the IPL since they need time to consolidate and bring them together as a cohesive unit team.

    I'm an RCB supporter.Since the management have left out local crowd favourites likes Dravid,Robin,Kallis,Vinay,Steyn,Pietersen,White and not to forget Taylor whom we adopted as our B'lore boy.Atleast they should have retained 3 players. Now my loyalities have scattered to Rajastan Royals,Kochi and pune since our previous RCB players are playing for those teams. S tiwary is not worth 7+ crores and the mangmnt has messed it for themselves as well as for the true RCB fans

  • dixit on April 13, 2011, 6:44 GMT

    chennai super kingzzzz all the way to do the double again co'm csk we will do it again =]

  • Dummy4 on April 13, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    Murali contributed heavily last year and I expect him to do well. He filled in for Gambhir when he was out of the Indian Team and did well against the Australians he batted well and braugt a couple of brilliant run outs. When Vijay.Raina and Uvi play for India ordinary bowlers look more effective purely because of their fielding. Vijay was unlucky to miss the World Cup and Ashwin was unlucky to miss the final. I suggest they move to some other state to get a fair deal

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