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Spirited Tuskers ready to take Kings for a ride

On paper, the Chennai Super Kings look stronger than the Kochi Tuskers Kerala. But what Kochi lack in might, they compensate with their spirit. Somshuvra Laha reports. Matchbox

cricket Updated: Apr 18, 2011 01:54 IST
Somshuvra Laha

On paper, the Chennai Super Kings look stronger than the Kochi Tuskers Kerala. But what Kochi lack in might, they compensate with their spirit. And against the defending champions, the debutants need the spirit as well as luck to deny Mahendra Singh Dhoni another victory.

Role reversal
Going by the performance so far, Kochi can boast to be one of the more settled bowling sides that don't have to rely on the untested to fill in, while their batting looks heavily reliant on skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Brendon McCullum.

Curiously though, the batting has held up well with both contributing handsomely. The experienced Brad Hodge too has provided good cover down the order.

The bowling, however, has faltered at the death. The loss in their first match to the Bangalore Royal Challengers, where Jayawardene had to toss the ball to Raiphi Gomez in the 18th over, which eventually cost him 20 runs, is a case in point.

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All-round Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja, who was bought for $950,000 (about R 4.19 crore), has proved to be the ideal all-rounder for Kochi. Back after a one-year ban from the IPL, the Saurashtra player has been under the spotlight from Day One.

Apart from his powerful hitting in the middle order, he has been a tidy bowler with an economy rate of just above seven. The consecutive sixes he hit to complete an astounding victory in their match against the Mumbai Indians on Friday suggests Jadeja is here to prove a point.

Super Chennai
The Super Kings are riding on great form that has been further enhanced by the addition of Australia batsman Michael Hussey to the squad. Nearing 36, the left-hander made a mockery of Bangalore's bowling on Saturday and looks set to plunder many more runs. Murali Vijay has proved to be an able opening partner.

With Suresh Raina, S Badrinath and skipper Dhoni to follow, Chennai can be relentless.

In the bowling department, R Ashwin and Suraj Randiv have been miserly with their slow-arm bowling, while fast bowlers Albie Morkel and Tim Southee, have been aggressive, suggesting that the Super Kings are a well-oiled machine that can be run down only by a Paul Valthaty.

The question is, who will be Kochi's Valthaty?