Elated Chennai meet deflated Pune
Match factsSaturday, April 14, Pune
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
The fortunes of these two teams as a whole are somewhat dependent on the form of their strong captains. Till Thursday, MS Dhoni had struggled to leave his mark on the game, and not surprisingly, Chennai Super Kings were not looking a confident unit. Till Thursday, Sourav Ganguly's positive influence was all that was being talked about in Pune Warriors' first two wins. But on Thursday evening, Dhoni scored a crucial 41 and the team responded with a most remarkable chase. On the same day, Ganguly's team went down to Kings XI Punjab, the captain cutting a sorry figure with his shabby fielding.
So when the two teams meet in Pune, a lot will depend on how much belief these two captains can instill into their sides. Super Kings are definitely the favourites. During the course of the last four games, all Super Kings batsmen - except M Vijay - have found form and being a team that bats deep, they will be hard to stop.
Warriors too brandish a long batting order but a lot could depend on how their batsmen handle Super Kings spinners, who have blown hot and cold in the tournament till now. Pune's bowling has kept the opposition under control but they could face a tough test on Saturday. Meanwhile, the wait for Tamim Iqbal's debut match continues. Could it be this game?
Players to watchEven though it was Albie Morkel who found his range in their last game, for Super Kings it has been Faf du Plessis who has cleared the boundary the most times so far in this IPL. He is slowly easing into the role that Michael Hussey played so well. Apart from his batting, du Plessis is a useful legspinner. He currently has 49 Twenty20 scalps and his 50th could be coming in Pune.
While the focus has mostly been on their captain and talented bench-warmers, Ashok Dinda has efficiently leapt to the top of Warriors' bowling charts. He has taken six wickets in three games, at an economy of less than five. Can he hustle the Super Kings batting?
2011 head-to-headLast year, both times the teams played each other, Super Kings swept away Pune's challenge easily. They won the first game in Chennai by 25 runs and followed it up with an eight-wicket victory two days later in Navi Mumbai.
Stats and trivia
- Dwayne Bravo is the most economical bowler (6.55 rpo) for Super Kings in the tournament so far. However, he is only 21st on the overall list.
- Sourav Ganguly has scored 89 runs off 92 balls in his six innings for Warriors.
Quotes"The first half [against Kings XI Punjab] was a bit slow, with ball doing a bit, but we didn't even play the full 20 overs. Had we batted through and got 130-135, with the kind of bowling we have and supported with the fielding, things could have gone in our favour"
Ashish Nehra points fingers at the batting failure in Mohali
"Sometime it [a line-up that bats deep] creates a problem. When you have a [long] batting line-up, you sort of lose your responsibility as a player, because you know that you have guys behind you. But on a night like tonight, it's great to have big-hitters down the order."
Albie Morkel on Super Kings strong batting line-up, after their last-ball win against Royal Challengers Bangalore
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo