Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Match 3 - Chennai Super Kings vs Titans
Titans up against formidable CSK for MS Dhoni’s homecoming
It will be a celebration of sorts when the Chennai Super Kings take on the Titans in Match 3 of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 2013.
The Titans, runners-up in the RAM Slam T20 Challenge, will be up against not only the Chennai Super Kings, but also a very vocal crowd who will be supporting local lad MS Dhoni and his team. The Titans, making their second appearance in the CLT20, will be looking to improve on their performance from 2012 when they made it to the semi-finals but lost out to eventual winners Sydney Sixers.
CSK on the other hand are competing in the CLT20 for the fourth successive season. Champions in 2010, CSK are in the competition by virtue of finishing second in IPL 2013. Their performance in the last couple of seasons of CLT20 hasn’t been up to the mark and that is not something one associates with this champion team. CSK have retained the team since their formation in 2008 and coach Stephen Fleming said that the team was motivated to do well in this competition, given there was a good chance this was the last time this group of players might play together in CSK colors.
Sunday, September 22, 2013, 8 pm IST
JSCA International Cricket Stadium, Ranchi
In a team packed with match-winners, how does one single out one or two players to make the difference? The Chennai Super Kings have match-winning batsmen and bowlers and all-rounders who can swing the pendulum in quick time. Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina have been two important cogs in the CSK squad; Hussey has been like a wall at the top of the order, while Raina has been their run-machine, especially in the middle and later part of the innings. In Albie Morkel and Ravindra Jadeja, the team has two supremely confident all-rounders. On the bowling front, CSK will look to Dwayne Bravo – who was outstanding as a bowler in IPL 2013 – and R Ashwin to peg the opponents back regularly.
And how does one not talk about MS Dhoni; apart from his inspirational captaincy, which has tended to get the best out of his players and has taken Indian cricket to new heights, Dhoni is also an outstanding batsman – perhaps the best finisher in limited overs cricket in the world, at the moment.
The Titans have made all the right noises since landing in India. Speaking to the media on the eve of the match, Jacques Rudolph said that his team is a well-balanced outfit and is quietly confident of doing well. For that to happen, the Titans will need AB de Villiers to consistently play the kind of innings he has played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. Rudolph, skipper Henry Davids and Farhaan Behardien will be expected to support de Villiers in piling up the runs.
On the bowling front, look out for the two tall fast bowlers – Morne Morkel and Marchant de Lange – to cause a lot of grief for their opposition. Both bowlers have reputations of being able to bowl in excess of 140 kph and have the ability to generate sharp bounce from even docile surfaces.
MS Dhoni is the most-experienced captain in the T20 format; he has been captain in 151 Twenty20 matches. No other player has captained in more than 100 T20 matches.
No Indian cricketer has scored more runs in Twenty20 cricket than Suresh Raina; the southpaw has scored 4,054 runs in 152 matches.
Albie Morkel is the most-capped player in the T20 format; he has featured in a total of 239 matches.
MS Dhoni and his team will stay put at Ranchi and enjoy a three-day break before their next match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on September 26. The Titans meanwhile will head to Mohali for their next fixture against the Brisbane Heat on September 24.