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Preview by Siddharth Prabhakar
Chennai, Sep 28: The second match of the double header on Wednesday will feature a keen contest between two reigning champions, Chennai Super Kings and Cape Cobras. The former are the current IPL and CLT20 champs while the latter are the current title holders of the Standard Bank Pro20 championship held in South Africa. The start these teams have had to this year's CL has however been different. Cape Cobras are second placed in their group after they posted a clinical win over the New South Wales Blues. They bowled and fielded well to restrict NSW to 135 before their openers ran away with the momentum in the first ten overs.
Chennai, on the other hand, looked favourites to win the match in front of a boisterous home crowd. Micheal Hussey carried his good form across Palk Strait scoring a 81 to propel them to an above par 158, but they were done in by an unexpected late order blitzkreig from Lasith Malinga in their opener against Mumbai. It was a stroke of good luck for their opponents that saw them lose the match and they shouldn't really be losing sleep over it, but they surely will be if they don't win this match against the Cobras who would like to continue their winning streak and book a berth in the semi finals as soon as possible.
Chennai: The MS Dhoni led side came into this tournament as strong favourites and for the major part of their match against Mumbai, they did play as champions. Their squad has always looked well-knit and professional since their inception despite the presence of only a few big ticket players such as the Indian skipper and Suresh Raina in their ranks. The openers, Murali Vijay and Hussey look comfortable batting with each other in the centre and the presence of Dhoni, Albie Morkel and Dwayne Bravo ensures that they have the firepower to get the big overs at the end. Though not a major concern the inability of S Badrinath, solid in crisis situations, to get the boundaries away right from the word go could be a soft spot.
The variety of the bowling attack has been one of the major contributors to their winning streak at home with Doug Bollinger giving them a good start and Ashwin & Jakati slowing proceedings down in the middle overs ably supported by Raina. Its tough to point out flaws in their performance against Mumbai the other night but all said and done, they must put that behind and look to repeat the good things. They can't afford to lose another game as it's a really tough group and with Mumbai almost through to the semis with their win against Trindad and Tobago, they need to win this to keep their chances alive. Perhaps they will draw strength from the support of the home crowd.
Cape Cobras: The Cobras looked very much like a side from South Africa. In their opening match against the New South Wales Blues, they bowled well, fielded athletically and the openers dazzled with their shots over the infield in the powerplay. The catching of some of their fielders, especially Vernon Philander, was a tad suspect, but the bowling in the middle overs more than made up for it. The surprising part, rather was the tactic of their captain Justin Kemp, to start with the bowling with the left arm spinner Robin Peterson, despite the presence of Dale Steyn in their ranks. It was certainly a brilliant move as Peterson not only choked the flow of runs in the start but later came back to get through some tight overs towards the end. Steyn has looked less menacing in conditions not exactly favourable to pacers, but was effective all the same. The strength of the Cobras bowling unit is the presence of nippy medium pacers like Langeveldt and Kemp himself, who have the ability to strike at regular intervals which slow down the opponents.
On the batting front, the former South African opener Herschelle Gibbs has the knack of getting, whichever team he represents, off to a rollicking start like the one he gave the Cobras in the match against NSW the other day. He is partnered by Richard Levi, who has a similar style of batting. With their overseas player, Owais Shah and star of the inaugural Champions League, Jean Paul Duminy to follow, the Cobras are not short of batsmen who have the ability to score quickly right from the word go. Probably their Achilles heel would be their ineptness in playing quality spin bowling and against a side banking on their spin, it would be a mouth watering contest.
We have gotten over the loss against Mumbai. Its a different feeling to lose at home, but we know we are a champion side and can bounce back - Badrinath
We are happy to win against a side as good as the NSW Blues. But we need to improve our fielding - Justin Kemp
Chennai Super Kings (From): MS Dhoni(w/c), Srikkanth Anirudha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Michael Hussey, Shadab Jakati, Suraj Randiv, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Murali Vijay
Cape Cobras (From): Justin Kemp(c), Dane Vilas(w), Dale Steyn, Owais Shah, Michael Rippon, Andrew Puttick, Vernon Philander, Robin Peterson, Johann Louw, Richard Levi, Charl Langeveldt, Rory Kleinveldt, Justin Ontong, Herschelle Gibbs, Jean-Paul Duminy
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