Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina © IANS (File Photo)
Brendon McCullum (L) and Suresh Raina (R) added 91 runs from just 45 balls in tandem against the Dolphins in their last match © IANS (File Photo)

By R Vishal

Sep 24, 2014

The race for places in the latter stages of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014,  has gathered steam and every game from now will decide the fate of the teams. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are penciled by bookmakers as one of the favouries to clinch the trophy and for the second time in the competition’s history. Pakistan’s only representative, Lahore Lions will know that they are up against a formidable force with a batting order that can pull down curtains on the contest in the span of a few overs.

It was Dolphins who were on the receiving end of a brutal assault by Suresh Raina and co. en route to CSK soaring away to the joint highest total in CLT20. If CSK were to feature in a video game, the top seven is the closest to what a knowledgeable fan playing the game would pick as his or her ‘dream team’; a constellation of world class, leather-hunting superstars. From Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum up the order to Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, skipper MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja, it is simply a terrorizing list to glance at.

In CSK’s bowling department, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have been architects for many a victorious evening for their team. More than going into length about their mastery over the format, bowing in tandem, the duo’s strategy of stopping batsmen from chalking out a game plan is negated. Ashwin and Jadeja go through their overs in lightening speed and the balls soon run out and wear down batsmen’s thinking abilities.

Their lions received a setback when spinner Adnan Rasool was reported for a suspect bowling action but have steady performers in this format with skipper Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal. The in-form Aizaz Cheema single-handedly shoulders the bowling responsibility.

Squads:

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c&wk), Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishwar Pandey, Ashish Nehra, Mithun Manhas, Pawan Negi Mohit Sharma, John Hastings, Samuel Badree.

Lahore Lions: Mohammad Hafeez (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Siddique Khan, Mohammad Umar Akmal (wk), Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Salman Ali, Asif Raza, Mohammad Mustafa Iqbal, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema, Imran Ali, Saad Naseem, Adnan Rasool, Mohammad Saeed, Ali Manzoor.

Time: 14:30 GMT I 20:00 IST

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(R Vishal is a journalist, beach lover, Chelsea FC fan and a wannabe globetrotter. Being a loyal student of the Tariq Iqbal school of cricket stopped him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a cricketer. Now, he just writes and talks about the game; He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)