Smarting from their crushing defeat against table-toppers Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings will seek a quick turnaround as they take on bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore tonight.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team went into their previous clash against Rajasthan unbeaten in three previous games.
But they were blown away by a rampant Rajasthan outfit as they were restricted to 156 for four. The Royals chased down the target with eight wickets in hand.
Chennai are aware of the fact that their batting revolves around openers Brendon McCullum (162 runs) and Dwayne Smith (163) with only Dhoni having clocked in more than 100 runs.
Big guns like Suresh Raina (65 runs from four games), Faf du Plessis (44 from three) and Dwayne Bravo (76 from four) have not done enough with the bat and the men in yellow know that’s a weakness that can be exploited.
Fielding coach Steve Rixon admitted his team needs to iron out the flaws as soon as possible.
He said: “We had a chat with the top-order batsmen to adjustments in the way they thought about their games. Our bowlers, with 160 on the board (against Rajasthan), they probably needed a few more than that to bowl with.
"But generally it was the little things that let us down in that game and it is just the matter of getting our heads around that and go back to doing what we do so well.”
Their bowling, however, is decent shape with as many as three frontline bowlers – left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, swing bowler Ishwar Pandey and spinner Ravi Ashwin – going at less than eight runs an over.
The bowlers will need to be on top of their game as they will be up against a Bangalore batting line-up that has Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers.
Gayle has clobbered 127 runs from three innings and de Villiers 115 from three outing.
However, the rest of the batsmen haven’t done as well with captain Virat Kohli especially poor at the top of the order, scoring just 72 runs.
If Chennai’s bowlers can keep Gayle and de Villiers quiet, Bangalore will be in deep trouble.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have not had the best of starts this IPL. With just one win from four games, and two defeats in their home games, things are not looking rosy for David Warner’s team.
One of the reasons is the lack of big runs from most of the top order batsmen.
Apart from Warner, who has 159 runs from four outings, and fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan (104 runs), the rest of the batters have failed to make any sizeable contributions.
Coach Tom Moody admits it’s an area they need to work on as they prepare to host defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders today.
“Any of the top order batsmen, whether it is David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan or KL Rahul, who get an opportunity, need to press on and get a fifty plus score,” Moody was quoted as saying by iplt20.com.
“In the last game against Delhi Daredevils, that was probably the difference.
"Not one of our top four who all got a chance, Ravi Bopara included, got an opportunity to get a fifty plus score. It is absolutely crucial to convert those starts.”
Hyderabad lost the last two matches, against Delhi and Rajasthan,off the final delivery and will be hoping for a change in fortunes today.
“The last two games, we have been on the wrong side of a last ball result. We are looking forward to being on the right side of it; maybe not on the last ball result but the right side of the result,” Moody added.
Assessing his opponents, Moody said: “KKR are a very good side, there is no question about that.
"They have got a good all-round side that has had some recent success. It is going to be a tough challenge for us but we are looking forward to it. The mood in the camp is very good.”
Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson kept his cool as Kings XI Punjab ended Rajasthan Royals’ winning run by clinching a thrilling Super Over victory at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad last night.
Chasing 192 for a win, Punjab finished at 191 for six, the same score as Rajasthan Royals, forcing a one-over face-off. In the Super Over, Punjab batted first with David Miller and Shaun Marsh, who had scored half centuries earlier, taking strike.
Chris Morris trapped Miller lbw off the very first ball of the over. Marsh then hit two boundaries as Punjab finished at 15 for two.
For Rajasthan, captain Shane Watson and James Faulkner took strike. They too had a poor start as Watson was bowled for a duck by Johnson. Steven Smith came in and hit a boundary off a no ball.
However, with six on the board, Rajasthan lost their second wicket as Faulkner got run out trying to look for a bye as their innings ended.
Earlier, opener Ajinkya Rahane’s calculated assault helped Rajasthan Royals put up a strong total of 191 for six.
Rahane cracked 74 off 54 balls with six boundaries and two sixes as he gave Royals a great start, adding 95 for the opening wicket with skipper Watson (45 off 35 balls, 5×4, 2×6).
Out of his first five boundaries, Rahane hit four off Johnson, signalling his intentions. Watson, on the other hand, took 24 balls to reach 18 as he looked to play a long innings.
Then in the ninth over, Watson launched into off-break bowler Shivam Sharma. He hit the spinner for three boundaries and a six to kickstart his innings.
Just as he was looking good for a big knock, a superb piece of glovework from Wriddhiman Saha resulted in a leg-side stumping that ended his innings.
Next man in Deepak Hooda (19 off nine balls) kept up the scoring as Rahane reached his half-century with a six over square-leg off Anureet Singh and powered Royals to a sizeable score.
In reply, Punjab got off to a dreadful start, losing both openers Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay to run-outs.
Marsh (65 from 40 balls) and left-handed batsman Miller (54 off 30) kept them in the hunt. Punjab kept losing wickets but maintained a good run rate.
Lower order batsmen Saha (19 off eight), Axar Patel (12 from seven) and Johnson (13 from seven) fought until the end and enforced the Super Over.
Man-of-the-match Marsh lauded his team for not losing hope and coming out on top against an in-form team like Rajasthan.
“It was nice to get the win. The boys really worked hard the last few days in training and it gets us back in the competition now,” Marsh said.
“I was hitting the ball well and picked out certain areas of the ground. Glad that it worked out.”
Marsh also hailed the bowling of Johnson in the Super Over that sealed the win. “I’ve never batted in a Super Over before, so it was a little different. Credit to Johnson who defended it brilliantly.”