Chennai Super Kings v Pune Warriors, IPL 2011, Chennai April 24, 2011

Chennai, Pune look to avoid freefall

Match facts

Monday, April 25, Chennai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

How many times must a team fall before it is considered to be in freefall? Two? Maybe not. Chennai Super Kings and Pune Warriors, both on two-match losing streaks after good starts to their competition, are not yet in freefall, but by midnight on Monday one of them will have lost three in a row, and will have a lot of worrying to do.

Chennai will be more desperate to stop the slide having lost three out of their five matches. A loss on Monday will leave them needing at least five wins out of their last eight. Pune, who have lost two out of four, are one defeat short of moving into the situation Chennai find themselves in. They'll want to avoid it.

Form guide (most recent first)

Chennai LLWLW (8th in points table)
Pune LLWW (7th in points table)

Team talk

Chennai have two choices to make. The first one is simpler, picking one out of Tim Southee and Suraj Randiv. The other choice is difficult: both Shadab Jakati and Joginder Sharma have struggled so far. Will they make a choice between the two or pick a new bowler, perhaps Sudeep Tyagi or Yo Mahesh?

Pune will need to tweak their line-up as Manish Pandey is now available after serving his four-match ban. Pandey could come in for Graeme Smith, who is struggling for form and fitness. It will be interesting to see if they persist with Tim Paine if Smith can't make it. Paine made 2 off 9 balls against Mumbai Indians on his IPL debut.

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

In the spotlight

None of the Pune bowlers features in the top 12 wicket-takers in the tournament so far. Yuvraj Singh is their leading wicket-taker with four strikes. They will be looking for a bigger effort from the specialist bowlers.

South Africa's national team doesn't want him, but MS Dhoni finds enough work for Albie Morkel, who bowls ahead of Doug Bollinger and has delivered Chennai's only maiden of the tournament.

Prime numbers

  • With five catches and a stumping, Robin Uthappa has statistically been the second-most successful wicketkeeper, behind Kumar Sangakkara with eight dismissals
  • S Anirudha has taken six catches this season, the most for a fielder other than a wicketkeeper

The chatter

"We have won two home games, so if we win the rest of the home games, we are going to be close to the play-offs. We have to keep winning matches and not worry about the run-rate. If you have one good week, you find yourself at the top of the table."
Chennai coach Stephen Fleming is unfazed by the recent reversals

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo