Pune: Pune Warriors India fans might well be hoping that Chennai Super Kings are too overwhelmed to recover from the frenetic finish against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday, which gave the defending champions the unlikeliest of wins in their quest for a third successive IPL crown. Placed third on the points table with two wins from three games, Pune though have enough reason to believe that a hung-over Chennai team is not their only hope of attaining victory in match 16 of IPL 5. They will also know that the tables will be turned as far as the home support is concerned, since it is Chennai's turn to face the wrath of an away crowd come Saturday.
The batting of CSK which has been rather inconsistent in the tournament so far, was at its sublime best in the clash against RCB, and will undoubtedly be the side's trump card in the match against Pune. South Africa's Faf du Plessis, who had 57 runs in three innings to his name, smashed 71 off 46 balls with four sixes, which laid the foundation for Chennai's charge against Bangalore. Chennai’s captain MS Dhoni, who promoted himself to No. 4 in the batting order then played a crucial hand of 41 off 24 balls to turn the tide in his team's favour, before Albie Morkel tore into Virat Kohli, smashing the hapless bowler for 28 runs in the penultimate over of the match, to all but settle the issue in favour of the defending champions. Chennai will be depending on the above mentioned trio to fire once again, as Dhoni's men look to register back-to-back wins in the competition.
Pune on the other hand will be aiming to bounce back from a disappointing batting performance against Kings XI Punjab in their previous game, which handed the Sourav Ganguly-led unit their first loss of the tournament. Having beaten the Mumbai Indians and KXIP in their opening two fixtures, PWI were bowled out for a paltry total of 115 to go down by seven wickets.
What would be giving Pune sleepless nights is the indifferent form of their batsmen none of whom have managed to reach the 50-mark thus far. The team will be also looking to build on the bowling of Ashok Dinda, who has six wickets in three matches which includes a four-wicket haul against Mumbai, when Pune defended a total of 129 for 9. Even though it would be difficult to pick an outright favourite on current form, the fact that CSK won both their games against Pune in the latter's debut season last year gives the two-time champions a massive mental edge which could go some way in proving to be the determining factor when the two sides square off on Saturday.
Pune Warriors India: 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Sourav Ganguly (capt), 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Robin Uthappa (wk), 6 Steven Smith, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Mithun Manhas, 9 Rahul Sharma, 10 Ashish Nehra, 11 Ashok Dinda
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Murali Vijay, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 S Badrinath, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Shadab Jakati, 11 Doug Bollinger