Things aren’t looking too rosy for Team Chennai. They have lost three games already and if that is not shocking enough they don’t look the same invincible unit of yore at home anymore. Fort Chepauk was breached comfortably by Mumbai and had it not been for Albie Morkel’s 19th-over heroics, it would have crumbled against Bangalore too.
Next up is a team full of confidence and even more determination to make a mark in the IPL. Yes, Pune looked stunned on Tuesday night after losing the game to Bangalore … especially as they seemed to have it under control till almost the last delivery. But Sourav Ganguly has seen all this and more in his long career. He understands that “such things happen on the field” and he knows how to rejuvenate a team before a crunch game.
There are a couple of worries for Ganguly, though. His pace spearhead Ashok Dinda has suffered a side strain and it’s unlikely that he will be fit for the Chennai match. If he doesn’t play, Pune might have to drop Marlon Samuels, who was warned for chucking in the game against Chennai, and play Wayne Parnell.
And then, Ashish Nehra, one of Ganguly’s go-to men, was taken apart in the last over against Bangalore and his morale will be low. These are issues that Ganguly has to address quickly.
There’s a bit of a worry for Chennai too, over skipper MS Dhoni’s fitness. He had a hamstring pull during their last game against Pune and had apparently consulted a doctor in Mumbai. The skipper, though, is back in practice and had a couple of nets sessions and the team management is hoping he will take the field.
The fact that Chennai lost their last game against Pune is also making them extra cautious. “Pune are a strong, well-balanced side. It’s crucial that we bowl at our best in the first six and the last four overs,” Bichel said.