Preview: Defending champions CSK have their task cut out against Cobras

Chennai’s hopes of advancing to the semifinals hangs in balance after they lost to Mumbai Indians in their CLT20 opener AFP

By R Eswar

Chennai: Sep 27, 2011

With their eight-match unbeaten run at home coming to a halt against Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings will hope for an improved show by their bowlers to stay alive in the tournament when they take on Cape Cobras in a Champions League Twenty20 match on Wednesday.

CSK’s hopes of advancing to the semifinals hangs in balance after the defending champions failed to restrict a depleted Mumbai Indians in their opening match here last week.

Led by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, CSK were all set for a victory against MI before Lasith Malinga, in the company of stand-in skipper Harbhajan Singh, stitched a vital 53-run partnership off just 28 balls to see the side home in the final over.

Subramaniam Badrinath on Monday defended his side’s loss and reposed faith in the outfit to bounce back to winning ways against the Cobras.

“We have been in this situation before and we have got ourselves out of it, so it’s not something that’s new to us. I think we just have to play good cricket,” Badrinath said.

The batsman, however, stressed on the importance to bowl well in the final few overs when the ball is changed and it’s again hard and new.

“It’s important to bowl well in the last leg. That’s when the new ball comes on well to the bat and if we can restrict them in the Powerplay overs, it would be tough to get our bowlers away after that, considering (the quality) of our attack,” he added.

Cape Cobras, meanwhile, are buoyed after the win over New South Wales Blues, and will be keen to extend their supremacy in group A with yet another victory.

The South African champions, though, were not really tested in their opening encounter, as they eased past the Australians with seven wickets in hand.

However, it will be a different ball game altogether when they take on the hosts.

The side will rely heavily on the exploits of speedster Dale Steyn besides pinning hopes on the likes of Herschelle Gibbs and Richard Levi to come good.

Unheralded chinaman bowler, Michael Rippon, who may play for the visiting team in Wednesday’s encore, might prove to be an added advantage.

The bowler on Monday said that the tourists will come up with a proper game plan against the hosts and will try and execute it in the middle.

“It’s obviously a game of cricket and you have stuff like that happening. But as long as you have a secure game plan and follow it, you will be safe,” Rippon said.

On the relaid turf at the MA Chidambaram stadium, the 19-year-old said, “It’s not as quick as it normally is.

Players are saying it’s quite slow and quite sticky and it doesn’t come on to the bat.”

Dhoni’s men will look up to Michael Hussey, who was in brilliant nick during his knock of 81 against MI, and a lot will also depend on Suresh Raina and the skipper.

Murali Vijay, who was at loss against Lasith Malinga the other night, too, will look to rediscover his touch.

If the hosts wilt under pressure again, it will be the end of the road for them, and the dream to win a unique CLT20 double will remain just a dream.(PTI)


Chennai Super Kings (Probable): Murali Vijay, Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, MS Dhoni (c&wk), Albie Morkel, Dwayne Bravo, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Doug Bollinger, Shadab Jakati

Cape Cobras (Probable): Richard Levi, Herschelle Gibbs Gibbs, JP Duminy, Owais Shah, Justin Kemp (c), Dany Vilas (wk), Vernon Philander, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Charl Langeveldt.

Time: 14.30 local (20.30 GMT)