Tuesday, May 27, 2008

'Do-or-die' battle for Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings face a do-or-die battle for a semi-final berth in the Indian Premier League as they take on out-of-contention Deccan Chargers, who are yet to post a win on home turf, at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Tuesday.

A loss on Tuesday would all but end Super Kings' chances of making the semifinals after Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men narrowly lost the match against the Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.

The Chennai team has 14 points from seven wins and six defeats in the tournament so far. The visitors start favourites against the Adam Gilchrist-led hosts, who are no longer in the race for the title after losing 11 of their 13 matches and finishing last.

The hosts, however, will play for pride as they aim to post their maiden win at home.

However, for the Super Kings, it is a battle to stay alive in the tournament that they dominated in the initial stages before losing steam.

However, the batting line-up still looks formidable with the presence of the redoubtable Dhoni, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath and Albie Morkel. Parthiv Patel and Stephen Fleming have shown that they can also strike upfront when it matters.

The Chennai bowlers like Manpreet Gony, Makhaya Ntini, L Balaji and Muttaiah Muralitharan have done an effective job on several occasions.

Moreover, the team will have the psychological advantage over the Chargers who are a dejected lot following their successive defeats in the series.

The main drawback of the home side appears to be its failure to fire as a unit though the individual performances of Gilchrist, Rohit Sharma and Venugopal Rao have been remarkable.

Some of the team's foreign signings Herschelle Gibbs, Scott Styris and Shahid Afridi have failed to meet up to expectations though Gibbs has started finding some form of late.

In the bowling department, the team will rely on the experienced RP Singh and Chaminda Vaas to bring an end to their losing streak.