Chennai Super Kings hold all the aces when they take on a demoralised Pune Warriors India in an IPL-6 match on Monday evening under the lights at Chepauk.
CSK fresh from their dramatic win over Bangalore are high on confidence and are keen to carry on the momentum.
Although they may be tired physically and mentally from the Bangalore game that went down to the wire, Sunday being an off-day can help them recoup their energies for Monday.
PWI arrived on Sunday evening and were a tired lot. The travel and time taken to check out and check in to hotels has given little time for them to freshen up.
They will be without the services of skipper Angelo Mathews. It is also learnt that Yuvraj Singh may lead the team in the absence of the burly Sri Lankan all-rounder.
West Indian Marlon Samuels could be the replacement for Mathews. Aaron Finch, Ross Taylor and Mitchell Marsh will continue to be the other foreign players in the squad.
Pune’s bowling will depend a lot on the Indian duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rahul Sharma. Plus they will expect Yuvraj’s ‘pie-chuckers’ to do some damage.
Ashok Dinda who was pretty expensive against Mumbai giving away 15.75 runs per over may get the axe. Ishwar Pandey who is quick and familiar with the conditions in the city having trained at the MRF Pace Foundation may get the nod.
Pune’s batting will once again depend on openers Finch, Robin Uthappa and the middle order comprising of Taylor, Yuvraj and Tirumalasetti Suman.
A big innings from Yuvraj and all-rounder Abhishek Nayar is overdue.
On the other hand sources state that CSK will go for an unchanged XI. They reason that since the hosts want to score maximum points in the initial phase of the league, they do not want to relax or try to experiment since Pune is a weaker side.
The only worrying point is the fluctuation in the fortunes of its openers Murali Vijay and Mike Hussey. One day they play brilliantly and the next day they flop.
The CSK team management would want the openers to be more consistent and utilise the powerplay to the maximum.
The wicket is a different to the one used against Bangalore. The surface for Monday’s clash is the one that CSK played on against Mumbai Indians.
The wicket is hard and dry, it will have steady bounce and good carry. It should turn slower towards the end.
So batting first and putting up a good score should be CSK’s plan.