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Time for redemption

While Chennai would be looking to regain the top spot in the league table, Hyderabad would just be wanting to move up from the bottom. KR Guruprasad reports.

cricket Updated: May 06, 2008 01:33 IST
KR Guruprasad

Hyderabad captain VVS Laxman summed it up succinctly on Monday. Asked if Chennai were vulnerable after two losses, he said: “Why should we talk about that? We have lost five matches. We should look at what we should be doing correctly.”

The travel-tired Chennai team, smarting from a comprehensive loss to Jaipur in an away game, will take on Hyderabad on Tuesday. And the visitors, languishing at the bottom of the table, need a win after losing a close encounter against Bangalore.

Chennai would heave a sigh of relief because Sohail Tanvir, who might have bowled again in their nightmares, is not going to change teams and turn out for Hyderabad. Laxman said: “We do have good left-arm seamers in R.P. Singh and Nuwan Zoysa. Chaminda Vaas is unfortunately not available for this match.”

But Chennai are not going to lose sleep over these left-arm bowlers. None of them are as deceptive as Tanvir, who took six wickets against them in Jaipur on Sunday. Moreover, the pitch at MA Chidamabaram Stadium is not going to offer as much bounce as the one in Sawai Mansingh Stadium did.

After two consecutive losses, Chennai, who flew in from Jaipur via Mumbai, are serious which can be gauged from the fact that they chose to practise barely two hours after landing.

The batting, especially the top order, has not looked the part after Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey left.

And the way they fell to Tanvir, they might do with a slight change at the top.

The trouble is they don't have too many options. Parthiv Patel may have failed to convert good starts into big scores and Stephen Fleming is not as destructive as Hayden, but Dhoni would rather have them open than risk a rookie in this tie.

Dhoni did try to shuffle the batting order against Jaipur by promoting Subramaniam Badrinath and Suresh Raina up the order and even though it did not work on Sunday, it possibly was a good move.

Hyderabad are unlikely to change their batting order and it's baffling to see Shahid Afridi not opening the batting in a format he was born to play in.

“I am quite happy with me and Adam Gilchrist opening,” Laxman said. “We can build the momentum and Afridi can come in and play his big shots later.”

There is a huge difference between the goals the teams have.

Chennai would be looking to regain the top spot in the league table while Hyderabad would just be wanting to move up from the bottom. But there is no denying that the intensity to win will be the same in both of them.