Home stretch: With the last gasp win against Royals,CSK may have shot up to fourth spot in this edition of the IPL. But even a single loss from here on could be enough to take matters out their hands,as far as qualification into the playoffs go. Delhi,on the other hand, seem to have more or less secured their passage beyond the league,but will know momentum is a dangerous thing to concede.
Too much of a good thing: David Warners century against Deccan ensured his side chased down a stiff target and his opening combination with skipper Virender Sehwag has to be one of the most destructive going around. If there is any worry for the table toppers,it is that the form of its top three has let the middle order go untested. The guys who come in lower will need to get some game time before the crunch matches and with four games to go,it will be interesting to see what Delhi do with their batting order.
In focus,ms dhoni: The Chennai skipper has clearly struggled this season,with his 235 runs coming at a strike rate (116.33,down by almost 20 runs per 100 balls from his overall IPL s/r) unacceptable for some one who gets to bat at a critical juncture in most games. What his slow scoring has done is effectively neutralise Chennais batting depth,with those that bat lower Albie Morkel and Ravindra Jadeja having little or no time to have an impact on the game. One area that seems to have suffered is his ability to find the boundary. His 119 runs in his last six innings contain just eight boundaries and one six,or around 30 per cent (the corresponding figure for AB de Villiers and Brad Hodge is 63 and 55 per cent respectively). For someone either required to up the scoring at the death or keep the required run rate in check,the figures do not quite add up.
Change,the only constant: A key feature of Chennais title winning runs in were that the side retained pretty much the same playing eleven through the season. It is not surprising that some of the most capped players in the IPL are from the Chennai squad Suresh Raina,S Badrinath and MS Dhoni. It has been a different story this season with the side tinkering with both set ups. Doug Bollinger and Nuwan Kulasekara were tried in the initial stages and have been benched in favour of Ben Hilfenhaus. Three opening combinations have been tried and discarded. The likes of Yo Mahesh,Shadab Jakati,Wriddhiman Saha,Murali Vijay and Srikkanth Anirudha have found themselves in and out,and the side has the look of a team that doesnt know its best XI.