Chennai: After hitting rock bottom following their defeat at the hands of Trinidad & Tobago, defending champions Chennai Super Kings need to carve out a big win against the New South Wales Blues here on Tuesday to remain in hunt for the Champions League Twenty20 semi-finals.
Entering into the final round of Group A matches on Tuesday, none of the five teams is sure of their last-four qualification.
Despite being on top with five points, Mumbai Indians' poor run rate will keep them on tenter hooks as they anxiously await the result of matches here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday. Following Mumbai closely are NSW with four points and Cape Cobras with three. Trinidad & Tobago are level with CSK at two points but their superior run rate puts them at fourth and Chennai at fifth.
If either Cobras or NSW were to lose on Tuesday, Mumbai's path to the semifinal will be cleared, leaving NSW, CSK and T&T tied together at four points and bringing it net run rate into picture to decide on the second semi-finalist from Group A.
But if NSW get the better of MS Dhoni-led CSK on Tuesday, they will safely move through with six points.
So all combination and permutations point towards nervy times for the defending champions, who will have to back their strength on paper with performance on the field to end their losing streak.
But Simon Katich's side would like to keep CSK, who haven't yet played to their potential, on the mat. However, the Australians will need to be careful as Chennai have the home support at their back, which could well spur them on to bring the best out of them.
But except for Michael Hussey, Chennai's batting is yet to fire, just like their bowlers, who haven't yet found their rhythm. And the hosts have reached a point where there is no more scope for errors as one mistake could bring curtains down on their campaign.
In contrast, NSW are playing well as a team having won two of their three games so far and will present a formidable challenge for Chennai, who have to bring their best game out and keep the margin of victory big enough to help them sneak through on net run rate.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c), R Ashwin, S Badrinath, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Michael Hussey, Shadab Jakati, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina, Suraj Randiv, Wriddhiman Saha, S Anirudha, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, M Vijay.
New South Wales: Simon Katich (c), Stuart Clark, Pat Cummins, Nathan Hauritz, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Phillip Hughes, Nic Maddinson, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Rohrer, Daniel Smith, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner and Shane Watson.