Chennai, Apr 18: So far in IPL 5, defending champions Chennai Super Kings have not played like two-time title winners. They have made a disappointing start to their trophy defence, losing three games. They will be hoping that that record changes quickly sooner than later. MS Dhoni-led side will face Pune Warriors in Game 24 here on Thursday night.
It will be a welcome return to home conditions for the Chennai outfit. The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here is the venue where Chennai are at their best. They will be banking on history to avenge their recent loss to the Sahara Group owned team.
It was on April 14 that Chennai were undone by an impressive knock of Jesse Ryder at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune. The Sourav Ganguly-led team had a heart-breaking loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday night on the last ball of the match. They will be hoping that their trip to South India at least fetches them a win.
Both Chennai and Pune appear strong on paper. Pune's batting clicked in the last game. Robin Uthappa's promotion as an opener yielded a good result as he topscored with 69. But Ganguly's decision to drop himself down the order did not change his form with the bat.
Ashok Dinda has been the leader of Pune's bowling attack. He suffered a side strain while bowling the 19th over in Bangalore. It is still not known whether he plays tomorrow.
Legspinner Rahul Sharma, will have to come out of that treatment he got from Chris Gayle. The opener smashed him for five successive sixes in over. The youngsters is a good Twenty20 bowler and should put that drubbing behind.
The biggest concern for Chennai is the non-performance of opener Murali Vijay. He might be dropped for this game. Rest of the battting looks settled.
Chennai will be at an advantage because of home conditions. Pune will definitely feel the Chennai heat. Can they overcome alien conditions and triumph?
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Srikkanth Anirudha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, George Bailey, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Joginder Sharma, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Yo Mahesh, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Scott Styris, Sudeep Tyagi, Kuthethurshri Vasudevadas, Ganapathi Vignesh, Murali Vijay.
Pune Warriors: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Ashok Dinda, A Trivedi, Raiphi Gomez, Harpreet Singh, Dheeraj Jadhav, Kamran Khan, Murali Kartik, Harshad Khadiwale, Mahesh Rawat, Bhuwanesh Kumar, Anushtup Majumdar, Mithun Manhas, Rahul Sharma, Ali Murtaza, Mohnish Mishra, Ashuish Nehra, Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Wayne Parnell, Jesse Ryder, Marlon Samuels, Sachin Rana, Alphonso Thomas, Tamim Iqbal, Shrikant Wagh, Luke Wright, Callum Ferguson.