Chennai aim to end losing streak, up against Pune
Chennai: Reeling from back-to-back defeats, defending champions Chennai Super Kings would aim to get back to winning ways when they take on unpredictable tournament debutants Pune Warriors in an Indian Premier League match on Monday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s Chennai are second from bottom in the points table after three losses in five matches, all the defeats coming away from home, and would be seeking to regain their form in front of adoring home fans.
Chennai have another eight matches to go apart from tomorrow`s tie against Pune.
Last year too, they were facing elimination close to the end of league fixtures but their fortunes turned for the better as they went on to win the title.
Apart from their two wins against Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai have lost to Kochi Tuskers, Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab.
But despite the losses, coach Stephen Fleming has ruled out tinkering with the combination much.
Chennai`s batting has revolved around Dhoni, Mike Hussey, Suresh Raina and Srikkanth Aniruddha and the quartet has delivered on most occasions.
The team`s worries are mostly focused on the bowling department.
Sri Lankan off-spinner Suraj Randiv is yet to find his rhythm and though he has claimed five wickets from four matches, he has also given away 120 runs in 15 overs so far. R Ashwin, who was impressive in the earlier editions, is also lacking in thrust and has claimed only four wickets conceding 143 runs of his quota of overs from five innings.
As for the Pune Warriors, captain Yuvraj Singh has work harder for points as they too have lost two of their last matches.
They rely heavily on Yuvraj and the aggressive Jesse Ryder to build the innings and this over-reliance on the duo probably cost them in the last two matches.
On the positive side, Robin Uthappa struck form in the loss to Mumbai Indians and would be aiming to continue from where he left off when he faces Chennai`s bowlers.
Bowling is Pune`s weak link as the team does not feature a single established star which can intimidate the opposition by his sheer presence.
The likes of Wayne Parnell have been economical but have not captured many wickets.
The teams (from): Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shadab Jakati, Michael Hussey, Albie Morkel, Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger, G Bailey, Tim Southee, F du Plessis, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Joginder Sharma, Yo Mahesh, A Mukund, Wriddhiman Saha, Scott Styris, Sudeep Tyagi, K Vasudevadas, G Vignesh.
Pune Warriors: Yuvraj Singh (capt.), Robin Uthappa (wk), Murali Kartik, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Deeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Ganesh Gaikwad, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Harshad Khadiwale, Kamran Khan, Mithun Manhas, Mohnish Mishra, Rahul Sharma, Sachin Rana, Shrikant Wagh, Shrikant Mundhe, Imtiyaz Ahmed, Graeme Smith, Jesse Ryder, Wayne Parnell, Alphonso Thomas. Tim Paine, Callum Ferguson, Mitchell Marsh, Jerome Taylor.