It’s now or never for CSK
Tonight CSK face Perth in a do or die encounter at M.Chinnaswammy stadium, Bangalore. Chennai lost their opening fixture against Kolkata where the Super Kings had squandered the match from a winning position after the Knights had lost half their side for just 51 runs on the board. CSK’s last match against Lahore was washed out without a ball being bowled and now they’ll have to beat a resilient Scorchers side if they have to keep their hopes alive in the tournament. The men in yellow did manage to beat Dolphins in their second match of the tournament, in which Raina’s whirlwind knock of 90 in just 43 deliveries fired them to a mammoth total of 242. Having said that, their bowling has been poor off late. Not only did they surrender to the rampage created by Andre Russel and Doeschate during the slog overs in the match against KKR, their bowlers looked pretty clueless against the onslaught of Dolphins in the second innings, a match which they won eventually but not after the opposition batsmen had put up a decent fight.
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Scorchers on the other hand scripted a terrific win in a nail biting finish against Dolphins which saw Mitchell Marsh hit two sixes in the last two balls to take Perth over the line. They lost their second match against IPL Champions Kolkata, which also went down to the wire. The Scorchers couldn’t keep their foot on Kolkata Knight Riders’ throat as a splendid cameo from Suryakumar Yadav robbed them off four points.
Chennai has 6 points from 3 games and Scorchers have 4 from 2.The equation is simple. A win for Chennai will almost confirm their berth in the semi final but a loss would be the end of the road for the star studded team. While the present BBL champions would look to get a win under their belt and improve their chances of going into the semis.
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CSK : Undoubtedly the most consistent team in the IPL. Mainly relies on its batting. It is good to see almost all the batsmen in good form. The duo of Mccullum and Smith have been lethal upfront. Raina as usual has been superb and they have the best finishers in MSD and Jadeja. What will be interesting to see is how Dhoni uses his pace bowlers. Lackluster performances in the recent games has surely given him a headache. Mohit Sharma has been pathetic at the death, Ishwar Pandey is still a rookie and Nehra is inconsistent. Bravo always has been Dhoni’s go to man, with this subtle variations, he has the knack of picking up wickets and keeping things tight. Spinners have also not lived upto the expectations and have given away far too many runs and have failed to get the breakthroughs.
Perth : The scorchers skipper, Adam Voges is back in form and that will be a big boost to the team. The top order has also contributed significantly.The likes of Simmons, Whitemann and Marsh have been among the runs. But , the lower middle order has failed to capitalize on the start provided during the slog overs. Also, they struggled to play against quality spin in their last match against KKR, and they’ll have their task cut out against Jadeja and Ashwin, provided that they bowl well.Perth probably have the most balanced bowling side in the group. The combo of Paris and Behrendroff have picked up 7 wickets and conceded just 114 runs at an economy of 7.52, which by T20 standards is quite impressive. The veteran Brad Hogg has also bowled well and kept things tight. The spinner was unlucky not to get a few wickets against KKR, but his tossed up googlies will surely test the CSK batsmen.
With each player being a match-winner in the CSK batting line-up, the Perth bowlers have plenty of things to worry about. At the same time, Perth will be looking to exploit the out-of-form CSK bowling unit. But you can’t do much when the opposition scores over 200 which CSK did against Dolphins. An exciting match is on the cards tonight and in the end, the team which handles pressure better, will win.