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Suresh Raina’s brutal innings of 90 off 43 deliveries against Dolphins © IANS (File photo)

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on the Lahore Lions in the eleventh match of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 at Bangalore on Thursday.  After a narrow defeat in their first match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), CSK came with an emphatic victory against Dolphins. Lahore too lost to KKR, and would be hoping for a different result this time. Shiamak Unwalla lists out some key battles to watch out for.

Brendon McCullum vs Aizaz Cheema: Brendon McCullum helped CSK get off to a roaring start against Dolphins with a typically savage innings. His knock was instrumental in propelling CSK to a humongous 242 for six. Aizaz Cheema has been excellent so far for the Lions, with 10 wickets in just four games so far in CLT20 2014. He has been a vital cog in the bowing attack, and will look to restrict the explosive CSK opener.

Ahmed Shehzad vs Ashish Nehra: Ahmed Shehzad has lived up to his reputation of being an exceedingly attractive but inconsistent batsman. He has shown glimpses of his obvious talent time and again in this tournament, but has yet to play a defining knock. On the other hand, Ashish Nehra has been a revelation for CSK with his pace and swing, far out-bowling the younger members of the CSK pace attack. One feels that there could yet be life in the old warhorse, and the battle between him and Shehzad ought to be a tense one.

Suresh Raina vs Wahab Riaz: The leading run-scorer for India in all T20 cricket, Suresh Raina has lived up to his top billing so far at CLT20 2014. His brutal innings of 90 off 43 deliveries against Dolphins served as yet another reminder of just why MS Dhoni trusts Raina so much. He has carried on his impressive form in the India-England ODI series here. Wahab Riaz has been in decent nick for Lahore as well. He has taken just five wickets in CLT20 2014 so far, but has bowled well throughout. If he can get rid of Raina early, it will be a massive handicap for CSK.

Umar Akmal vs Ravindra Jadeja: Like Shehzad, Umar Akmal is also considered a prodigious talent that lacks stability. That being said, Akmal has looked in good form so far in the tournament, with 90 runs in four innings at an average of 45. He has played a couple of excellent knocks, and will hope to continue his form against CSK. Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja was in his usual good form in the ODI series against England, and bowled reasonably well in the two games for CSK so far. It will be up to him to halt Akmal during the middle overs. If he succeeds, CSK will be at an instant advantage, but likewise, if he is taken for runs, it could be disastrous. Their battle will make for interesting viewing.

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with CricketCountry. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food; sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on Twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)