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IPL 2018: In-form Chennai Super Kings set to cross swords with Punjab in Mohali

Selection rejig on the cards as Chennai sans Raina have tough job at hand in clash against Punjab today.

Published: 15th April 2018 12:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2018 07:12 AM   |  A+A-

Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni during the practice ahead of Sunday s match against Kings XI Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Saturday. | PTI

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: Comeback Going by the way the Chennai Super Kings have returned to the IPL fold, that word might very well be the verbal albatross that will be hanging from their necks for the days to come. Evicted from home. Untimely injuries.

The constant rejigging of their playing eleven. But the Super Kings still managed to pull off two successful switcheroos of momentum with their backs against the wall. One occasion even saw them become the third team in the event to squeak past an opposition with only one wicket in hand.

Chennai may not have the statistical dominance to be deemed as Hail-Mary heroes (for instance, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai and Chennai are joint-best in terms of last-ball wins with the bat, with four instances each), but many a fan invested in the IPL may be tempted to anoint the Men in Yellow as the ultimate Never Back Downers.

And head coach Stephen Fleming believes that it is this ethos that will be Chennai’s beacon of light for the days ahead. “Obviously, a lot has been going on for us.

The only positive is that we have two wins out of two. They weren’t great performances, but we showed good character in them. They were scrapping, fighting wins, which sometimes at the start of the tournament are more valuable,” he said on Saturday.

“We’re disappointed to be leaving Chennai. We sat down at the auctions to pick a team that was suited to the conditions there, but it’s disappointing that we got only one home game. We have to adjust. We’ve got injuries to deal with as well. Other teams have them to, but that happening to two key Indian batsmen is a challenge.

That’s part of the IPL, and we need to keep coming up with ways to keep scrapping. It’s keeping us on our toes, with something happening every day.” Even in the context of their next clash with Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, Chennai may have to scrap it out, be it on the field or while deciding who takes to it.

Suresh Raina’s (calf injury) and Lungi Ngidi’s (returned to South Africa after his father passed away) absences are definite selection setbacks, but their think-tank is intent on roughing that out, even if that may entail strategic sacrifices like breaking up their successful opening combination of Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson.

“The IPL is about formulating the best possible combination while facing the challenges that come your way. Sometimes the ideal player has to sit on the side, while you come up with a solution that fits the bigger picture. That’s probably where we are at the moment. Even Lungi would’ve been a good fit for this wicket, given his pace and the bounce he can extract. But then, you’re comprising and teasing out the scenarios the whole time to give your team the best chance,” was Fleming’s elaboration.

“Murali Vijay is fit, and Faf du Plessis is close. If it does come to a push, he’ll probably play. We can’t replace Raina. He’s one of the best performers in the IPL. We just have to find a way to minimise his loss,” he said.

Rahul.ravi@newindianexpress.com



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