Chennai’s firepower came to the fore once again this week against a hapless Pune Warriors outfit, and I’m expecting more of the same tonight against Kings XI Punjab. In an ominous sign for rival teams, the Super Kings appear to be hitting top form at the right time. Crucially, they have experience and firepower throughout the side, so their results don’t tend to rise and fall on the performances of one or two key players.
MS Dhoni was again outstanding with the bat in their last outing, as were Suresh Raina and Subramaniam Badrinath, who stepped up after Michael Hussey was beaten on five. Mohit Sharma was also very clinical with the ball, continuing his impressive form over the past few games. Nine wickets from seven matches is a tidy return, but it is his enviable run per over economy that has been the key to his success.
Kings XI are coming off a tight loss to the Mumbai Indians and will be looking to bounce back, but the task doesn’t get much tougher than facing the Super Kings outfit away from home. It was interesting to see Adam Gilchrist omit himself from their last outing, despite his lack of runs this season and the form of Miller, Marsh, Pomersbach and David Hussey.
Gilly is a tremendous leader and made a selfless decision to sit out against the Mumbai. While his batting has been down, he remains a class wicket keeper and is very well respected amongst his peers. They’ll be counting on him to return bigger and better over the back-end of the season.
Over in Pune, I’m expecting the Royal Challengers Bangalore to prove too strong against a struggling Warriors side. Buoyed by Chris Gayle’s world record feat last week, I thought they were unlucky not to beat the Rajasthan Royals after finishing with a respectable 171.
Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Moises Henriques have been important, but the tail-end end aggression from Vinay Kumar has been the difference in a number of their tight wins.
For Pune, Steve Smith and Aaron Finch continue to do well but they need more from Yuvraj Singh. Every time I look at Pune, they seem to have a different team and different batting order which must be making it difficult for the players to get into any sort of rhythm. Their bowling in recent games has been good in the first half of innings but they have leaked a lot of runs in the final five overs of games recently and that is something Allan Donald will need to address.
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