Chennai brace for stiffer test
Match factsWednesday, September 14
Start time 1730 (1530 GMT)
Big PictureThere were a couple of surprises in the first phase of the Champions League Twenty20, but Chennai Super Kings emerged with their reputation unblemished after a clinical victory over Central Districts in Durban. Chennai's opponents for Wednesday's clash in Centurion, Wayamba, have been quite understated in the build-up to the tournament but promise to present a stronger challenge to the IPL champions. They were beaten by Warriors in their opening game but not before overcoming a horrid start with the bat and creating several chances in the field. Some of their experienced crew, including Mahela Jayawardene and Farveez Maharoof, however, failed to perform, and they'll be the focus in their attempt to stay in the hunt in this competition.
Chennai's ruthlessness with the ball, on show against Central Districts, will be hard to replicate. Muttiah Muralitharan and R Ashwin shared four wickets in miserly spells. But how they cope in this tournament against a side more accustomed to handling such variations remains to be seen. For Wayamba, the worry remains their pace attack comprising Maharoof, Chanaka Welegedera and Thisara Perera; they conceded 82 in 8.2 overs between them, a performance that does not augur well for a contest against a power-packed batting line-up.
Team newsWayamba have pace allrounders Isuru Udana and Shalika Karunanayake in their squad and they could feature in the team's calculations should they choose to replace any of their seamers. Legspinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi had an off day against the Warriors, conceding 25 in two overs, and could prompt the team to revisit its pre-match plans.
Wayamba (possible): 1 Mahela Jayawardene, 2 Jeevantha Kulatunga, 3 Mahela Udawatte, 4 Jehan Mubarak (capt), 5 Kushal Perera (wk), 6 Thisara Perera, 7 Farveez Maharoof,, 8 Rangana Herath, 9 Shalika Karunanayake, 10 Isuru Udana, 11 Ajantha Mendis.
Given their comprehensive win against Central Districts, Chennai could go in with the same XI.
Chennai (possible): 1 M Vijay, 2 Matthew Hayden, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 S Badrinath, 5 MS Dhoni (capt and wk), 6 S Anirudha, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Doug Bollinger, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Muttiah Muralitharan, 11 L Balaji.
Watch out for...
The success of Doug Bollinger has been one to savour for Chennai. He was one of their star performers during their IPL triumph with 17 wickets in eight games at 17.25 and is a huge asset with his persistence and combativeness with the new ball. He picked up 2 for 10 in his team's tournament opener and will target the Wayamba top order with some of its bigger names searching for form after the first game.
Mahela Jayawardene fell for a second-ball duck against the Warriors, a rarity in his stint for Wayamba as well as Sri Lanka in the opening slot. He remains best-equipped to handle Chennai's pace arsenal up front as well as their spin threat. Watch out for his face-off, if we come to that, against the other half of one of the most successful bowler-fielder combinations in cricket.
Bat v Spin: Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath conceded just 43 in eight overs against the Warriors while Murali and Ashwin tasted success in Chennai's opening game. Wayamba will be relying heavily on their slow bowlers given the lackluster show their seamers put forward against the Warriors. But against a bunch of batsmen with a penchant for finding the ropes, the ability of Mendis and Herath to contain the scoring faces a stern test.
Stats and triviaJeevantha Kulatunga is Wayamba's highest run-getter in Twenty20 cricket with 686 in 23 games at 40.35. His average is the best in the team followed by Mahela Jayawardene with 31.28. Thisara Perera is the highest wicket-taker with 28 in 23 games at 17.84. Isuru Udana averages 14.12 for his 25 wickets in 15 games.
Albie Morkel will be playing his 129th Twenty20 game on Wednesday, keeping him tied with Victoria captain David Hussey for the most Twenty20 matches played.
Quotes"Most of our boys know how to handle him"
Jeevantha Kulatunga backs the Wayamba batsmen against Murali.
Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo