Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab clash for semi-final berth

With a semi-final berth at stake, Chennai Super Kings, smarting from a stunning defeat to tournament-laggards Kolkata Knight Riders, take on Kings XI Punjab in a do-or-die encounter of the Indian Premier League here on Wednesday

Chennai are currently placed second With 15 points after notching up seven wins from 13 matches. Just one point behind them is Punjab.

Chennai were on course for a semifinal spot but Kolkata spoiled their party last night with a seven-wicket victory. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men now face a do-or-die match against an equally desperate Punjab, on a roll with two consecutive wins.

Even without their run-machine Matthew Hayden, Chennai posted 188 against the Kolkata team but couldn’t defend the total, due to poor bowling.

Skipper Dhoni would hope his team shrugs off the disappointment and comes out firing all cylinders on Wednesday.

For Chennai, orange cap winner Hayden has done the bulk of scoring and Dhoni would desperately want him back in the squad.

Even Suresh Raina has stood as a pillar for the team with Dhoni also pitching in nicely. Among the bowlers, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Shadab Jakati have been among the wickets, scalping 13 and 12 respectively so far and spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan has also made the rivals dance to his tune.

In contrast, Punjab is battling inconsistent batting form of skipper Yuvraj Singh. Sri Lankan import Kumar Sangakkara is doing the bulk of scoring while their opening pair of Sunny Sohal and Simon Katich has failed to give them the good start.

Punjab has depended more on their bowlers to defend low totals, with all-rounder Irfan Pathan leading the pack with 15 wickets and Yusuf Abdulla and Piyush Chawla bagging 14 and 11 wickets respectively.

A part-time spinner, Yuvraj himself has been in ominous form with the ball, picking up two hat-tricks so far in IPL II and he would hope to continue with the good work.

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