Can Jayawardene-less Kochi test Chennai?
Wednesday, May 18, Chennai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Chennai Super Kings' strength is their batting; they have crossed a total of 175 four times and four batsmen have accumulated over 300 runs. They have done just about enough with the ball to keep rolling out the wins. Three bowlers are in the list of top ten wicket-takers this season and the team has gelled as a unit. You might be able to make a criticism of the table-toppers Bangalore that they are heavily dependent on Chris Gayle but you can't pick too many holes in the Chennai campaign.
This could well be the last IPL game of the season for Kochi Tuskers Kerala. They have a mathematical chance of making the top four but to topple Kolkata, the only team they can get ahead on points, they have to beat Chennai by a huge margin. They have to then hope Kolkata lose both their remaining games convincingly. In contrast to Chennai, they have only one batsman, Brendon McCullum, who has tallied over 300 runs. To make things worse, they will be without the services of Mahela Jayawardene; Parthiv Patel will lead the side.
Form guide (most recent first)
Chennai: WWLWW (second in points table)
Kochi: WLLWW (sixth in points table)
It will be interesting to see if Chennai continue with Wriddhiman Saha or get in S Anirudha, who can at least belt the ball lower down the order. In Jayawardene's absence, Muttiah Muralitharan might get a game.
Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team Selector.
In the spotlight
Brad Hodge, who made 33 in the last game against Rajasthan Royals, hasn't had a great IPL season, tallying 234 runs. Much was expected from the man who had the most number of runs in the Twenty20 format but he hasn't sparkled. Will he leave his imprint against Chennai?
Dwayne Bravo has just played two IPL games and has done the job with the ball. With fellow West Indian Gayle firing in style for Bangalore, it will be interesting to track Bravo's progress in the remainder of the tournament. He will slip in the slower yorkers and cutters, and be restrictive with the ball; will he get a chance to showcase his prowess with the bat?
- With three ducks this season, Kochi's Raiphi Gomez is second on that inglorious list, behind Mithun Manhas' four zeroes. Kochi have three more men on that list: Brendon McCullum, Parthiv Patel and RP Singh have two ducks.
- With 16 sixes, McCullum is sixth on list of batsmen with most sixes. Chennai's MS Dhoni is seventh on that list with 14.
"We are still disappointed. Every team wants to get to the final four. We had our chances but didn't grab on to them. Like I said we lacked consistency in the tournament."
Mahela Jayawardene looks back on the season
"To be honest, Twenty20 is a game of luck. There is a lot of luck in it because the risk is more for a batsman, for a bowler or for that matter, even for a fielder. And when the risk is more, you need luck."
S Badrinath makes a frank assessment of this format
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo