CLT20: Formidable CSK looking to seal semis berth against Brisbane
Chennai Super Kings have carried their IPL form to the Champions League Twenty20 this season and are unbeaten thus far.
The MS Dhoni-led side is atop Group 'B' and looking for a hat-trick of victories to seal a semi-final slot when they square off against win-less Brisbane Heats of Australia in Ranchi on Saturday.
The contrast could not have been more in the two teams' fortunes. While Chennai are on top, Brisbane are at the bottom of the points' table.
IPL runners-up this year, Chennai are among the favourites to win the Champions League for a second time, having clinched it in 2010.
Image: MS Dhoni
Batting firepower gives CSK the edge
The depth in their batting line-up was displayed on Thursday night when Suresh Raina smashed a quickfire half-century and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni produced a unbeaten 63 as CSK amassed a huge 202 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In fact, their batting firepower gives them a definitive edge over Brisbane.
With in-form batsmen like Dhoni and Raina, CSK can tear up any opposition.
But a lot more is expected from the likes of Mike Hussey, who showed some spark in his 21-ball 23 in the previous match.
Not to forget all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who hasn't quite got a chance to dazzle so far.
Raina's 57-ball 84 was perfectly matched by Dhoni's pyrotechnics; the hard-hitting local skipper broke the spirits of the Sunrisers bowlers with his ruthless batting display.
Such was the brutality that neither speed nor spin provided any challenge to Dhoni as he decorated his 19-ball knock with an astonishing eight sixes.
Dhoni, in the process, also struck the fastest fifty in the history of the Champions League, reaching the landmark off just 16 balls and surpassing West Indian Kieron Pollard's record (50 off 18 balls).
Image: Suresh Raina
Brisbane's batsmen must show responsibility
Brisbane, on the other hand, are all but eliminated from the competition.
Handed defeats in the two matches they played so far, they need to win to stay alive.
The depleted Australian outfit, which failed miserably with the bat in the games against Trinidad & Tobago and the Titans, need their batsmen to show more responsibility.
Chasing a modest 123 against Titans in their previous game, Brisbane were bundled out for a meagre 119, with opener Joe Burns being the only noteworthy contributor again.
After a 43-ball 45 against T&T, Burns scored 37 against the Titans.
Brisbane will hope that captain James Hopes, who has plenty of international experience, having also captained IPL side Delhi Daredevils, gives them a solid start along with Burns.
Besides, all-rounder Dan Christian will also have to carry the batting burden.
Chris Lynn, the big-hitting middle-order batsman, is another player who can make an impact.
The bowling unit has done well so far but found little or no support from the team's batsmen.
Image: James Hopes
Bowling issues for Chennai
Chennai also have some bowling issues to deal with given that they ended up conceding 190 runs to Hyderabad on Thursday night despite having the cushion of a mammoth total.
The likes of Mohit Sharma and Albie Morkel will have to watch their economy rate, else they could end up helping Brisbane's batsmen regain lost form.