King’s XI Punjab’s win over Rajasthan Royals means Hyderbad Sunrisers are still alive in the tournament. But in order to survive this penultimate weekend of Season 7, they will be hoping for a series of virtually impossible events to unfold. First they need to win big against the in-form team Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday. Once that is out of the way they would want Royals to lose their game to Mumbai India. To further complicate things, they wouldn’t want MI to beat Royals with a big margin as that would see Rohit Sharma and his boys reaching the play-offs.
One man who can shut out Hyderabad is Robin Uthappa, who has credited his success in this IPL to a minor technical adjustment that has helped him to stay side-on and play late. Moreover, his personal batting coach Pravin Amre feels that the Kolkata opener has benefited from reducing the risky shots. Kolkata are on a six-match winning streak and Uthappa has a combined total of 363 runs those six matches with 47 fours and only eight sixes. Uthappa is playing along the carpet.
“This is what I told him (before the IPL),” Amre told The Indian Express. “Make no mistake, Uthappa can hit big sixes but hitting the ball in the air has a high risk factor attached to it. You can get out anytime in the deep, and someone who’s trying to make a comeback, can’t afford the luxury to play like a millionaire. So the idea was to eliminate the risk factor as much as possible and we concentrated on picking the gaps rather than going over the in field,” he elaborated.
Chennai Super Kings look to stem the slide
Bangalore: After the Chennai Super Kings’ six-wicket loss against the Hyderebad Sunrisers in Ranchi, Mahendra Singh Dhoni took a jibe at his team’s new-ball bowlers. “I think we need to score 230 runs as our bowlers are not getting wickets with the new ball,” he said.
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There is evidence to support Dhoni’s pithy assessment. It was the team’s third loss in a row, and they went down rather easily despite putting up 185 runs on the board. By the time CSK got their first breakthrough, Hyderabad had already scored 116 runs. In 11 overs.
It’s progressively getting worse for the two-time champions. In their last four matches, their bowlers have allowed a half-century-plus partnership for the first wicket on three occasions, including Thursday. Their top wicket-taker, medium pacer Mohit Sharma (18 scalps in 13 games), has returned empty-handed in the last three matches, all of which CSK have lost.
However, to blame Mohit alone for this streak will be both harsh on the bowler and unfair to other teams who will think that they have earned those wins.
Consider this. Before May 18, Chennai had lost to only one team, Kings XI Punjab, throughout the season. In the last seven days, they have been beaten by Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad, in that order. These were the teams who, unlike CSK, needed to win to stay alive. As it happens in professional leagues, when survival is at stake, desperate teams tend to tear up the form-book.
On Saturday, however, CSK will be more desperate than their opponents, Royal Challengers Bangalore. After all for Dhoni’s side, a place in the first qualifier is at stake. They are currently second, tied with KKR on points but just ahead on run-rate. A win will all but ensure two shots at a final berth. It may help that they will facing a deflated Bangalore who have, since they defeated CSK on May 18 to trigger the slide, crashed out of the race.