Pune Warriors host defending champions Chennai Super Kings in a ‘return leg’ of the IPL at the DY Patil stadium on Wednesday afternoon hoping that the homecoming will change their fortunes.
The ‘first leg’ was played two days ago 1300kms away in Chennai where CSK ended their series of defeats. Yuvraj’s team will aspire for a similar fate here.
After playing in Chennai on Monday both sides flew into Mumbai only during the latter part of the day on Tuesday and opted to rest at their respective hotels rather than have the regular nets session and customary media interaction. The Super Kings won Monday’s encounter by 25 runs and can be expected to carry that confidence.
Hosts Pune had started their campaign with two consecutive impressive wins but that was followed by three successive losses – at home, then at Wankhede and at Chepauk on Monday.
Pune have fared better while chasing. The decision to put Chennai in to bat by Yuvraj did not pay off though. It would be interesting to see if the Player of the World Cup persists with the same school of thought and trusts his opening batsmen to fire for a much-needed win.
“Our bowlers did the job but our batsmen failed to live up to expectations,” Yuvraj said after Monday’s match.
Indeed, on the batting front, they have plenty and solid resources that did not take off against Super Kings. The top order succumbed to the spin-and-pace combine.
Dashing batsman Robin Uthappa, who also keeps wickets when needed, credited Chennai’s high-standard fielding for their loss. “I don’t blame Yuvraj for opting to field first. Earlier, we have done well chasing and he was hoping to carry on with that momentum. Beside the Super Kings fielded brilliantly,” Uthappa said on Monday.
The DY Patil pitch is not known to help spinners a great deal. With further shaving off the grass, this equation may change slightly. It will be interesting to see how offies R Ashwin and Shadab Jakati, who were more than a handful in Chennai, perform in these conditions. With Mike Hussey, who played a stellar role against Pune, Suresh Raina and Dhoni, the visitors have a firm batting line-up. Pune pacers Jerome Taylor and Alfonso Thomas have their task cut out and skipper Yuvraj may have to look to Jesse Ryder for his medium pace stuff.