Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2014, Abu Dhabi

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

The Preview by Abhishek Purohit

April 17, 2014

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Chennai v Punjab, Abu Dhabi Friday, April 18, 2014
Start time 1430 (1030 GMT, 1600 IST)

Hattangadi: Chennai's Samuel Badree could be a handful

Big Picture

The clouds of controversy are swirling around Chennai, even as they are about to begin another season of the IPL. Time for them then, to embrace that "cocoon" of a familiar team environment around themselves. It is something their coach Stephen Fleming has spoken about, that despite all the uncertainties surrounding the franchise in the run-up to this season, getting together again has been soothing for him and his players. The environment is made still more familiar with the continuity Chennai have managed in their squad over the years, retaining more or less the same core group of players. And a leader who, in his seventh year as international captain and entering his seventh season as franchise captain, is still able to squeeze performances from himself and his players amid almost ever-present off-field drama.

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear relatively light on quick bowlers, but if the pitch for their opening game against Punjab behaves anything like the one for the tournament opener did on Wednesday, the likes of Ben Hilfenhaus and young New Zealander Matt Henry will be difficult to tackle.

Suresh Raina lofts a boundary during his 84, Chennai Super Kings v Sunrisers Hyderabad, Group B, Champions League 2013, Ranchi, September 26, 2013
Suresh Raina will be the first to reach 100 games in the league © BCCI

The tournament opener between Kolkata and Mumbai was played on a green pitch which had plenty of carry for the fast bowlers. It seemed a bit like the surface Punjab have often dished out at home in Mohali, and their new acquisition Mitchell Johnson would have loved to bowl on it.

Kolkata began slowly and were able to accelerate late with two set batsmen in the middle. It is an approach Chennai have used for years. It is to be seen what kind of approach Punjab will employ, with the utterly contrasting styles of Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara.

This will be the first of five afternoon matches scheduled in the UAE, and though both of these sides will not be involved in the next four, other teams would like to keep an eye on the conditions, especially the heat, given the 230pm start.

Watch out for ...

With a List A average of 55.03, Cheteshwar Pujara has every right to feel aggrieved at being denied a run in the Indian ODI unit. However, a T20 strike-rate of 103 and an average of 19.80 suggest he lags behind when it comes to the shortest format. A similarly orthodox batsman such as Ajinkya Rahane has shown the type can succeed at T20. Can Pujara add another dimension to his batting this season?

R Ashwin had an outstanding World T20, one of the highlights being his dismissal of Hashim Amla with a carrom ball that turned like a legbreak. Ashwin took the delivery to another level in the tournament, using it liberally with tremendous control. He also experimented with a Sunil Narine-like action in the Asia Cup. What does he have in store this season?

Stats and trivia

  • Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied

  • Suresh Raina is set to become the first man to play a 100 IPL matches

  • Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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    © ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

    Posted by android_user on (April 18, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

    i love CSK team and also players.all players cangrats.all the players done a good and well perpaments u do.

    Posted by android_user on (April 18, 2014, 10:03 GMT)

    The Cool Captaincy of MS Dhoni is Remarkable..My XI:McCullum-Smith/Faf-Aparjith-Raina-bravo-Dhoni-Jadeja-Ashwin-Sharma-Nehra- Badree

    Posted by saranthepolice on (April 18, 2014, 9:41 GMT)

    My CSK XI: 1) Faf Du Plessis, 2) Brendon Mc Cullam, 3) Suresh Raina, 4) B. Apparajith, 5) Dwayne Bravo, 6) MS Dhoni (C+WK), 7) Ravindra Jadeja, 8) Ravichandran Ashwin, 9) Mohit Sharma, 10) Samuel Badree and 11) Ashish Nehra

    Posted by android_user on (April 18, 2014, 9:11 GMT)

    csk for spin k11p for pace.. batting both teams look great

    Posted by android_user on (April 18, 2014, 9:01 GMT)

    hope ishwar pandey gets a chance. .

    Posted by Princepurple1979 on (April 18, 2014, 8:57 GMT)

    CSK team I want for today : McCullum, Faf, Raina, B Aparahith, Bravo, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Badree, Mohit Sharma, Nehra

    Posted by   on (April 18, 2014, 8:51 GMT)

    Chennai super king's strength is bowlers Ashwin,Badree and Jadeja ...weakness is their pace bowling.

    Posted by android_user on (April 18, 2014, 8:46 GMT)

    Well I do support pun jab because I am an hardcore fan of sewag I want him to come back in Indian eleven

    Posted by android_user on (April 18, 2014, 8:39 GMT)

    Smith Mc'cullum Raina Du plessis Dhoni Bravo Jadeja Ashwin Pandey hilfaneous/Badree

    Posted by SamWintson92 on (April 18, 2014, 8:31 GMT)

    My Teams:

    CSK XI: (McCullum should open) 1 McCullum 2 D Smith 3 Raina 4 Du Plessis 5 Dwayne Bravo 6 Dhoni (C+WK) 7 Jadeja 8 Aparajith/Manhas 9 Ashwin 10 Mohit 11 Ishwar.

    KXIP XI: (S Marsh should have played in place of Baiey. But as Bailey is captain, dropping Marsh is very tough on him. But Maxwell can't be dropped as he brings a X-factor and can bowl a bit) 1 Sehwag 2 Pujara 3 Bailey (C) 4 Maxwell/S Marsh (if he's picked then he will open) 5 Miller 6 Saha (WK) 7 Akshar/Vohra/Gurkeerat 8 M Karthik 9 Johnson 10 Sandeep 11 Balaji.

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