Pune Warriors v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2011, Navi Mumbai April 26, 2011

Dhoni-Yuvraj déjà vu at the DY Patil

Match facts

Wednesday, April 27, Delhi
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big picture

Less than 48 hours after walking out for the toss in Chepauk, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh will lead their sides out for the return game at the DY Patil Stadium. Even the IPL's biggest supporters will be hard-pressed to defend this weird scheduling decision that is almost completely devoid of logic. It flies in the face of the IPL's most captivating aspect: the ability of a ten-team field to provide variety on a daily basis. There is no logistical sense behind the decision either, unless the powers that be have managed to get a bulk discount on flight and hotel reservations for the teams. After all, this is the season for frugality.

While the match-up will have an unavoidable sense of déjà vu to it, the complete contrast in conditions from the first encounter could make the second an interesting tussle. After surging to easy wins in their first two 'home' outings, Pune have run into a rut with three successive losses, the last two away from the DY Patil Stadium. They will be happy to return to the true track in Navi Mumbai, with bounce and movement to suit their pace-heavy attack. Jerome Taylor got steep carry off the sluggish strip in Chennai and could be a handful here, along with the impressive Alfonso Thomas.

Chennai have won all their homes games, and are winless away. Dhoni has led them into the semi-finals in each edition of the IPL so far, and knows that his side will have to start travelling better if he is to extend the run. Can his spin-heavy attack shine on a surface where carrom balls are unlikely to bowl right-hand batsmen around the legs?

Form guide (most recent first)

Chennai: WLLWL (fifth in points table)
Pune: LLLWW (eighth in points table)

Team talk

Shadab Jakati produced the best moment of the game in Chennai, when he flew and latched on to a lofted extra-cover drive from Yuvraj Singh. That, and two tight overs of left-arm spin, might have done enough to convince Dhoni to retain him. Will Chennai bench Suraj Randiv, who was economical but wicketless in the previous game? If they do, Tim Southee might come back in to join Doug Bollinger and Albie Morkel in a three-pronged foreign pace attack for the visitors.

Pune are also likely to drop one spinner, which means either Nathan McCullum or Murali Kartik could sit out. Depending on the nationality of the spinner axed, Wayne Parnell or Shrikant Wagh will come in.

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

In the spotlight

This has been Suresh Raina's poorest start to an IPL season. He has managed only 119 runs in six outings, and wasn't fluent even during his half-century against Kochi. No-one has scored more runs than Raina in IPLs, and he is too good a player to continue struggling. A swap in the batting line-up with the in-form S Badrinath could spark Raina's revival.

Manish Pandey's much-anticipated IPL return began with a superb catch on the boundary edge to dismiss Michael Hussey. Pandey went on to unfurl two boundaries on the trot before playing the next ball onto his stumps. The first Indian centurion of the IPL will want to make a more lasting impression in his second outing.

Prime numbers

  • Murali Kartik had 16 wickets in 26 IPL games prior to this season. He is yet to get a wicket this year
  • With 48 wickets, Albie Morkel is the seventh-highest wicket-taker in IPL history. Only three seamers - RP Singh, Irfan Pathan and Lasith Malinga - have more IPL scalps to their name

The chatter

"MS is not big on too much planning. He gets his information from how the pitch plays and how the opposition is approaching it. There's a lot of gut feel about his captaincy. If you compare my captaincy with his, I was deadpan boring whereas he is adventurous."

Chennai coach Stephen Fleming is a big fan of MS Dhoni's captaincy style

"Fielding is a massive part of the game - no doubt about it. Steve Rixon has played a big role in this."

Doug Bollinger reveals the man behind Chennai's fielding resurgence in the previous game

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo