Team Punjab does not have a great IPL record but their performance against formidable Team Chennai has always been good. In the last three meetings, Punjab have won two – one of those coming in the Super Over.
However, in a format like the IPL, records hardly matter. It’s all about how a team plays on the day and the way things have gone so far, Chennai look the favourites at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday. Adam Gilchrist has still not recovered from an injury and David Hussey will continue to lead in his absence.
Though Chennai had started their IPL campaign with a defeat against Mumbai at Chepauk, MS Dhoni’s boys have recovered since then.
After winning a last-ball thriller against Bangalore here, the Chepauk Dadas were in their elements against Pune with all components coming into their own.
Punjab players understand it’s a tough challenge for them, playing at Chepauk.
“They are very good side and the guys like (Faf) du Plessis, (Albie) Morkel and (MS) Dhoni are in great form. Moreover, they have not lost too many games here and it’s going to be difficult. But we too have prepared well and our win against Mumbai came as a morale booster. The boys are ready to give their best. We are looking forward to a great match,” Gilchrist said.
The key to Chennai’s success has been the depth and flexibility of the batting unit, that has come good time and again at the crunch.
With Du Plessis going from strength to strength, the fans seem to have forgotten that they don’t have a certain Mike Hussey in their line-up. M Vijay, a pillar of strength over the last four years, has been dropped due to a string of poor scores, but Mr Dependable S Badrinath has been elevated from the middle-order and made the second opening slot his own.
“Batting has always been our strength and I hope we continue the good show in the remaining matches. We are blessed to have batsmen like Faf, Badri, Dhoni, (Suresh) Raina and (Ravindra) Jadeja in our ranks,” Fleming said.
“We can’t forget the contribution of our bowlers, they have been doing a great job. We just hope that it carries on,” Fleming added.