Chennai: Smarting from their eight-wicket defeat to Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur, Chennai Super Kings have a very good opportunity to get back to winning ways when they take on Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament on Tuesday.
It is a critical game for both teams as it comes at the halfway stage in the league. The Super Kings are currently placed fourth in the leaderboard that they once led with four consecutive victories. The Chargers occupy the last spot with one win from six outings.
If anything, the Super Kings would not have to deal with another Sohail Tanvir or a Shane Warne as the Chargers are struggling to put up an effective combination that can fetch them much-needed success.
But the Super Kings' much-vaunted batting line-up has not really clicked since the departure of the two Australians, Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey. They are also missing the big-hitting all-rounder Jacob Oram who left for New Zealand just as he was getting into a wicket-taking mode.
Although, the Super Kings have put on a bold front in view of the replacements – Stephen Fleming, Albie Morkel and Makhaya Ntini – the fact remains that the side just did not show the discipline required during their defeats to Delhi Daredevils and the Royals.
Coach Kepler Wessels has been at pains to stress that the Super Kings would not miss the three foreign recruits, but the two consecutive defeats have only shown up the team's soft underbelly.
The Chargers would be hoping to capitalise against a team that is decidedly low on confidence. The VVS Laxman-led Hyderabad outfit has so far only promised a lot, but delivered nothing, even granting that they did come close to winning a couple of games.
The presence of Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs at the top of their batting order has not really reflected in the totals they have put up or chased. Laxman himself has not shown a comfort level, as a captain and a batsman, to have anyone believe that he is cut out for this format of the game.
The only thing going for the Chargers is that they can play with more freedom since they have everything to gain and nothing to lose while the Super Kings have to win to remain in the hunt as serious contenders for a semi-final spot.
As has been the trend, both teams have kept their options open for the last possible moment before deciding on the final composition of their respective playing elevens.