Chennai, April 18 (IANS) The Chennai Super Kings will be hoping to reignite their campaign in the Indian Premier League (IPL) when they host the Pune Warriors here Thursday.
With only two wins in five outings, the Super Kings have been off to a typically slow start, but Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men wouldn't like to leave it to the very end as was the case a couple of seasons ago.
In contrast, the Sourav Ganguly-led Warriors, having won three of the five games, would be keen to consolidate their position and shrug off their defeat in Bangalore despite posting a score of 180-plus.
The visitors have no Chris Gayle to contend with, but need to be wary of the Super Kings' batting prowess that was on view the other night when they chased down a 200-plus target with the lower order batsmen like Albie Morkel and Dwayne Bravo contributing at the finish.
When the two teams met in Pune five days back, the Warriors did well to restrict the Super Kings before posting a comfortable seven-wicket win with four balls to spare. But given the vicissitudes of Twenty20 cricket, only the form on the day matters and the track record, at best, is a mere indicator.
The pitch at Chepauk is likely to influence the outcome. If the curators left a lot of grass on the pitch for the opening game of the season, then the surface afforded good bounce and carry when the Super Kings hosted Royal Challengers Bangalore who could not defend a total of 205.
As such, Thursday's game promises to dish out another round of batting action with the bowlers toiling for meager returns unless the willow-wielders make a hash of the opportunity.
Neither Warriors nor the Super Kings have been consistent enough thus far, but then, it is early days yet in the competition where each team play 16 games prior to the play-offs. Super Kings, winners in the previous two seasons, have proven to be late-starters while the Warriors, playing only their second season, are obviously keen to make an impact after a disappointing debut last year.
On the face of it, the Warriors face a tough task against a team that was unbeatable at home last season and despite the loss to Mumbai Indians in the inaugural game this year, the Super Kings start off as firm favourites on the morrow.
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