This match, in scenic Himachal Pradesh, is of little consequence for Kings XI Punjab, but with four teams vying for three open semi-final spots, this is huge for Chennai Super Kings. If they win – and their superior net run-rate gives them an advantage over the other teams – they will get into the final four. Lose, and their campaign is over.
For Punjab, this is their last chance for a “home” win. Dharamsala has turned host for the final two matches of Punjab’s campaign and while the crowd hasn’t entirely warmed up to the presence of Punjab’s squad, they have flocked to the stadium and filled it completely. Punjab will, however, remain at the bottom of the pile no matter what the result and that’s a bitter pill to swallow for their captain Kumar Sangakkara, who entered the tournament high on confidence and promised a turnaround in the team’s fortunes. For the second year running, the semi-final remains elusive for Punjab.
Form guide (most recent first)
Chennai dropped Muttiah Muralitharan from the last game and despite Michael Hussey’s poor start to the tournament, he may remain on the bench. R Ashwin has been outstanding and Shadab Jakati has been a tidy back-up, so all signs are that Murali won’t play.
Punjab have nothing to lose, but signing off with a win is a priority. Local face Vikramjeet Malik was ordinary against Deccan Chargers, yet could keep his place. Shalabh Srivastava looks primed for the bench after another shoddy outing.
Punjab 1 Chennai 5 Until the first meeting between these sides this year, it was all one-way traffic headed Chennai’s way. Even in that game, Chennai was on top for most part before an inexplicable brain-freeze in the end overs pushed the game into a Super Over, where Punjab prevailed.
In the spotlight
Matthew Hayden: He hasn’t even touched the form shown in the previous IPL, while his fellow opener M Vijay has scripted meaningful innings. Apart from one thumping knock, the Mongoose bat hasn’t aided Hayden as he would have expected. A big innings from the big man would go a long way in boosting Chennai.
Yuvraj Singh: Against Deccan, Yuvraj played another odd innings. While at the other end Mahela Jayawardene creamed four boundaries, Yuvraj scratched around and ate up dot balls. Then when he hit the ball in the air during the final over of Punjab’s innings, he inexcusably failed to turn over the strike. There was a chance that the catch would be dropped, but more importantly he should have crossed to get a red-hot Jayawardene on strike for the final ball. After a horrible IPL, will Yuvraj finally fire a salvo at his detractors?
* Mahela Jayawardene has leapt to fourth spot in the race for the orange cap, with 418 runs. Suresh Raina is three runs behind him at fifth.
* Kumar Sangakkara, who is the second Punjab batsmen in the list, is overall 13th.
* Murali Vijay, the second Chennai batsman in the list, has scored 330 runs in boundaries alone, which is six runs more than Sangakkara’s overall tally.
“It has affected us as we have missed his explosive opening.”
MS Dhoni on Matthew Hayden.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Sunday, April 18th, 2010 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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