Chennai, Apr 14: Having pulled off a dramatic win in their last match, an in-form Chennai Super Kings will look to consolidate their position as they gear up to lock horns with laggards Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Monday night (April 15).
Starting their campaign in the sixth edition of the tournament with a loss, Chennai seemed to have got their mojo back after posting back-to-back wins, including last nights victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore, in a nail-biting finish.
On the other hand, Pune have already suffered three losses in four outings, their only win coming over Rajasthan Royals. Two-time winners Chennai are placed fourth in the points table with as many points while Pune Warriors are lying low in the eighth position with two points in the nine-team T20 league.
With Pune still struggling to come to terms, the match at the M A Chidambaram Stadium will be an opportunity for Chennai to head north in the table.
The hosts have the resources in abundance, in both batting and bowling, and it will be interesting to see what strategy Pune employ against the side led by India skipper MS Dhoni.
With Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay at the top, Chennai have a formidable opening pair at their disposal. And the best part, from the home sides point of view is, both are in good nick.
Considering the format, the middle-order is full of talent and experience, with the presence of Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Then there is Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin, who is no bunny with the bat either. It was Jadeja who stole the limelight in the sides win over RCB with a breezy match-winning knock.
As far as Chennai's bowling is concerned, they have the pacers as well spinners to not only take wickets, but also stem the flow of runs when required.
Dirk Nannes and Chris Morris have done a good job against RCB, with the latter sending back the dangerous Chris Gayle for one of his three wickets.
Bravo has always been a handy all-rounder and then there is Ashwin and Jadeja. If one includes Albie Morkel in the ranks, it only adds to Chennais strengths.
To ensure that the match is played on an even keel, the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Ross Taylor, Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh will have to fire in unison for Pune.
Yuvraj, especially, carries a lot of expectations whenever the visitors are playing and unfortunately for them, the left-hander is yet to crack that one big knock that could give the side a boost. And so is Taylor, the New Zealander can be destructive on his day. Pune are hoping that tomorrow would be his day.
Skipper Angelo Mathews will need to lead from the front, and a couple of good performances from the skipper will do the side a world of good going into the later stages of the tournament.
Marsh, Bhuvnehswar Kumar and, of course, Ashok Dinda will have to be on the money from the word go against Chennai. Dinda was smashed for over 63 runs by Mumbai yesterday, and his confidence must have taken a beating. Legspinner Rahul Sharma is also expected to play an important role.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Srikkanth Anirudha Baba Aparajith, Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo, Akila Dananjaya, Faf du Plessis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Jason Holder, Michael Hussey, Imtiaz Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, R Karthikeyan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ben Laughlin, Ronit More, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Dirk Nannes, Suresh Raina, Ankit Rajpoot, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Vijay Shankar, Mohit Sharma, Murali Vijay.
Pune Warriors: Angelo Mathews (captain), Yuvraj Singh, Abhishek Nayar, Robin Uthappa, Ross Taylor, Ajanta Mendis, Manish Pandey, Marlon Samuels, Mitchell Marsh, Mithun Manhas, Parveez Rasool, Rahul Sharma, Ali Murtaza, Anustup Mazumdar, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dheeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Harpreet Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Kane Richardson, Krishnakant Upadhyay, Luke Wright, Mahesh Rawat, R Gomez, Shrikant Wagh, Steve Smith, T Suman, Tamim Iqbal, Udit Birla, Aaron Finch.
Match starts at 8PM IST