Their semifinal hopes fading after four consecutive losses, Chennai Super Kings face another uphill task when they take on the in-form Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League in Chennai on Wednesday.
Lying second from bottom, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Superkings need to turn it around from here or miss the semifinal bus.
Anil Kumble’s Challengers are comfortably placed second in the points table and would be further bolstered by the joining of the hard-hitting Englishman Kevin Pietersen.
After the Bangladesh tour, Pietersen went back to England to visit his family for a while before joining Bangalore on Monday.
There seems no worry for Kumble in the bowling department as his pacemen have done their job well enough so far and the dice is likely to roll in their favour.
The last 10 days have been a nightmarish experience for Dhoni, who could not play in three of the team’s last four matches. They were dumped to the bottom after downhill slide that started with the Super Over loss to Kings XI at home.
Dhoni himself reasoned that if batsmen fail, it affects all the other departments.
“We made several changes in the team, but nothing is working for us. We are ending up doing more and more changes.
We need to settle with one squad. From now onwards, every game is important,” he said.
Despite having an in-form Matthew Hayden, Chennai have struggled as a batting unit and bowling was never their strength anyway.
Given their flip-flop form, it would be interesting to see to how Chennai’s batsmen negotiate the class of Kumble and a nippy Vinay Kumar, who is high on confidence after getting a call-up to the national team for the Twenty20 World Cup.
Chennai bowlers have a tough task to restrict the in-form Bangalore batsmen, particularly Robin Uthappa and Pietersen besides others.
In danger of missing the semifinal bus for the first time in three editions, Chennai’s morale has hit a low and it would be quite a task for them to regroup against the high-flying Bangalore.