New Year brings new cheer, so they say.
A day after the ushering in of the Tamil New Year, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) would be experiencing much of it especially after their Escape to Victory like act against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Saturday.
On Monday, the team will host Pune Warriors India (PWI), which, after snapping an 11-game losing streak with a victory against Rajasthan Royals (RR) on ‘Gudi Padwa’ (Marathi New Year day), was back to its losing ways against Mumbai Indians (MI) on Saturday.
For Pune it has been problems aplenty — some inflicted and some self-made.
Ross Taylor’s form, the reluctance to change when things go wrong (Ashoke Dinda being given the 20th over against MI after having conceded 47 in three) and some notable omissions have all stood out.
Steve Smith factor
The most intriguing of the omissions so far has been that of Australian Steven Smith. He was Pune’s best player in 2012 and next only to Michael Clarke in the recent tour of India.
In the two duels against CSK last year, he won a match — with a 22-ball 44 — and made a decent contribution in the other.
With regular skipper Angelo Mathews unavailable, the new skipper would have to shoulder the responsibilities of correcting these anomalies.
As for Chennai, after two wins on the trot, the outfit is now clearly on the upswing. However, as Ravindra Jadeja noted after the RCB game, the flow of runs in the middle overs ought to be faster so that things don’t drift too far away.
Even against MI earlier, CSK scored 50 runs and lost four wickets between over number four and 15.
Coach Stephen Fleming, before the clash against RCB, had said that it would be difficult to make a change to a winning outfit and going in to the match against PWI, the same is likely to hold good.
One side will hope for the New Year’s cheer to continue while the other will be keen to get back the wind behind its sails.
However, when the two cross swords, the air is unlikely to reverberate the same way as it did on Saturday.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c/wk), Srikkanth Anirudha Baba Aparajith, Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo, Akila Dananjaya, Faf du Plessis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Jason Holder, Michael Hussey, Imtiaz Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, R Karthikeyan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ben Laughlin, Ronit More, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Dirk Nannes, Suresh Raina, Ankit Rajpoot, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Vijay Shankar, Mohit Sharma, Murali Vijay.
Pune Warriors: Angelo Mathews (Captain), Yuvraj Singh, Abhishek Nayar, Robin Uthappa, Ross Taylor, Ajanta Mendis, Manish Pandey, Marlon Samuels, Mitchell Marsh, Mithun Manhas, Parveez Rasool, Rahul Sharma, Ali Murtaza, Anustup Mazumdar, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dheeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Harpreet Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Kane Richardson, Krishnakant Upadhyay, Luke Wright, Mahesh Rawat, R Gomez, Shrikant Wagh, Steve Smith, T Suman, Tamim Iqbal, Udit Birla, Aaron Finch.