Guess what is common between the Chennai IPL team and the Kolkata side?
Both teams, despite defeats in their previous matches, would be heaving a sigh of relief that they will not be bowling to Sanath Jayasuriya in the league games anymore.
The Mumbai batsman single-handedly decimated the Chennai bowling attack. A day later he showed no signs of slowing down as came up with a whirlwind knock against Kolkata, who were defending the lowest total in the league.
Chennai and Kolkata, after losing to Mumbai in their previous matches, square-off here at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. On Saturday evening, after an extremely hot and sultry day, the clouds opened up and it poured heavily for more than an hour.
However, it is early to say if this would affect the match. The four o’clock start in the evening gives the Eden Gardens a good chance to dry up and the contest could still be played.
With the resurgence of the Mumbai team, the race for a spot in the semi-finals is now on full throttle. Though Chennai is third on the points table with 12 points from 10 games, Kolkata have slid down to sixth spot with 10 points from 10 games.
With Mumbai and Delhi breathing down Chennai’s neck, they would be more than eager to add points to their kitty.
The Shoaib factor
In their first match against Kolkata at home, Chennai sailed to a nine-wicket win.
But for that match Shoaib Akhtar was unavailable and on Sunday he would be smacking his lips at the prospect of bowling to MS Dhoni and his men.
Chennai too would be aware of the kind of damage the Pakistani fast bowler is capable of. In his IPL debut match against Delhi, Akhtar picked up four wickets and made Delhi’s famed batting line-up look like a school team out for practise.
Wobbly top order
Chennai still have not struck it good with their batting top-order after Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey left. S Vidyut and Stephen Fleming played well against Delhi but have not been consistent.
The highest scorer for Chennai has been Dhoni but S Badrinath has been a revelation. But they would certainly be hoping their top-order fires.
A crowd of 80,000 is expected to throng the stadium on Sunday. And they would be as noisy as a Kolkata crowd can get. In what was unimaginable a couple of months ago, they would be backing Akhtar to send Dhoni packing.
Keep your finger on the volume control of the TV remote.