After two successive defeats at home, defending champions Chennai Super Kings find themselves with their back to the wall as they try to resurrect their campaign against the Deccan Chargers at home on Friday.
With just six league games to go — and with only nine points in the kitty — the team needs to win at least four games to be in the safe zone to qualify for the play-offs. The team will hope that the arrival of Michael Hussey and Ben Hilfenhaus brings them luck.
One of the reasons why the CSK have not fared well is because of the inconsistent nature of the re-laid Chepauk wicket, which has caught the home team by surprise.
Bowling coach Andy Bichel admitted that the team had struggled to cope with varying conditions. “The wicket has been a bit of a surprise and it has behaved differently on different occasions… it has been a challenge to read it, but we hope to overcome it,” said Bichel.
The team that boasts of some natural stroke-players, has not been able to adapt quickly to the slow nature of the wicket and the arrival of Hussey should come as a shot in the arm, as he is one player who can adapt to the wicket easily and control the innings from the beginning.
After the game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, CSK skipper MS Dhoni had said that the team should have defended a total of 140 on a slow wicket. He had also highlighted the inconsistencies in bowling. With Hilfenhaus available for selection after a successful tour to the West Indies, it will provide the much-needed teeth to the attack, but his inclusion would mean the management would have to choose between Dwayne Bravo and Albie Morkel.
Coach Stephen Fleming also rued the missed opportunities against KKR on Monday, where the players failed to hit the stumps on more than one occasion. On Wednesday, the team sweated it out, focusing on ground fielding and hitting the stumps under the watchful eyes of fielding coach Steve Rixon.
Nothing to lose
Meanwhile, the Chargers, who are languishing at the bottom with five points, are coming on the back of an impressive win against the Pune Warriors, only their second in the tournament. The return to form of Cameron White and skipper Kumar Sangakkara — the duo put together a 157-run stand — should give the team the much-needed confidence.
Though the team's chance of progressing looks slim, they have nothing to lose and could well play the role of party spoilers.