Chennai Super Kings v Pune Warriors, Chennai April 18, 2012

Can Chennai pick up steam?

Match facts

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

For the third time in as many seasons, Chennai Super Kings have got off to a slow start in the competition. They have three defeats from five games, with their two victories coming against teams placed lower than them in the points table. It could have been worse though. The heist they pulled off against Royal Challengers Bangalore should have boosted their morale. They are back at home in the return match against Pune Warriors, their previous opponents. Their batsmen were strong against the Warriors quicks, but against the spinners they managed 63 runs in ten overs. In the end,155 wasn't enough. They should expect to do better at home, given the batting-friendly conditions. However, a hamstring niggle for captain MS Dhoni, which makes him a doubtful starter, and Albie Morkel's return to South Africa after the death of a friend, will have them worried ahead of the game.

Warriors have injury worries of their own. Ashok Dinda* impressed with his economical last over in their last game against Royal Challengers but, on the down side, also picked up a side strain in the match. That means he could miss this game. Also, Warriors have had only a day to recover from that loss. There, their bowlers tightened the noose in the first ten overs, giving away only 63, but lost the plot especially in the final over. With 21 to defend, the bowling team would always back itself but AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary manufactured their own luck and pulled off a thriller. Warriors' batting looks settled, with their openers Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa scoring a fifty each. However, Sourav Ganguly is due for a bigger score, with an average of 12.20 in five games.

Players to watch

With 171 runs in five games, Faf du Plessis, is the leading run-scorer for Super Kings. He has been solid at the top of the order and was the Man of the Match against Royal Challengers, with his 71 off 46 balls keeping his team in the hunt in their tall chase of 206.

The match will be Sourav Ganguly's 50th appearance in the IPL. Ganguly has scored 1142 runs in the tournament so far. However, only 111 have come till now in this season. Amid questions over his fitness and form, Ganguly could find Super Kings' spin-heavy bowling attack to his liking.

Stats and trivia

  • Super Kings still hold the record for the most sixes hit in a single team innings - 17.

  • The Warriors have lost nine wickets as run-outs in this edition, the most by a team. Super Kings are second with seven

    Quotes

    "In a tournament like this you are going to lose a few games. But you should not allow defeat to enter your psyche and bog you down."
    Robin Uthappa tells Warriors to chin up.

    "I think it would have to be a legspinner with a googly. He can get the ball to spin both ways and can effectively handle left-right combinations that can unsettle bowling line-ups."
    Super Kings' bowling coach Andy Bichel on the one bowler he would like in the line-up, for variety.

    *06:04 GMT, April 19: The preview has been updated to reflect that Ashok Dinda is doubtful for this match

    Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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