Super Kings’ allround bowling unit looks to bounce back from Maxwell’s mauling

It was a humbling experience for the Chennai Super Kings bowlers to face Glenn Maxwell at full blast in Cuttack in the Pepsi IPL-7. The two-time champion can boast of an attack which has all areas covered and geared up to perform in different conditions. When the Aussie took a swing at everything within range and connected, the bowlers were thrown into disarray.

Maxwell’s mauling and the KXIP victory were like rays of sunshine for CSK’s rival. Mumbai Indians get the first chance on Saturday night to test the visitors’ resolve.

The Aussie was in the MI line-up last season. After releasing him, there is none of his calibre or consistency in the squad. Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu are explosive batsmen whose combined strength might come in handy.

Positive signs

South African batsman Rilee Rossouw is an unproven talent in IPL. Harbhajan Singh is growing in confidence by taking wickets; the positive vibes after four overs of attacking spin have yet to seep into his batting.

The off-spinner showed the way against RCB by baiting openers Parthiv Patel and Chris Gayle into attacking him. MI attack displayed more fight in the two Wankhede home matches so far. Zaheer Khan’s exit due to injury was taken in its stride; Lasith Malinga was dependable as usual and young medium-pacer Jasprit Bumrah did not get overawed sharing the bowling duty with Malinga.

Pollard can be tough to get away due to his high action and varied pace from a short run-up. Praveen Kumar, drafted in as Zaheer’s replacement, is a canny bowler in the death overs and had played for RCB under Anil Kumble, the current MI mentor.

Looking at the Maxwell battering (six fours, eight sixes in 38 balls) as a rare occurrence, CSK has the men and means to dominate sessions on a track which played differently in two matches. Winning six out of eight IPL-7 ties is creditable for M.S. Dhoni’s squad.

Mohit Sharma is high up in the bowlers’ list (14 wickets, eight games), Dwayne Smith (average 42.37 runs) and Brendon McCullum (average 44.85) occupying premium places in the run-getters’ list proves the capability of CSK players.

Mohit’s control and direction force batsmen into mistakes when taking chances against him. The brisk rate of scoring by Smith and McCullum at the start allows hitters down the order to let loose without worrying about consolidation.

CSK is shaping into a compact unit because the Indian players in the team are performing under Dhoni’s leadership and coach Stephen Fleming’s guidance. Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishwar Pandey and R. Ashwin are doing their bit. The foreign players in the line-up are experienced professionals.

Back-to-back victories before home crowds at the Wankhede have helped the team’s morale. But, MI with a mere four points after seven matches has a lot of catching up to do.