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Tough task and Gilly knows it

After they were upstaged by newcomers Pune Warriors in the opening game, Kings XI Punjab face the unenviable task of having to tackle the formidable Chennai Super Kings at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on Wednesday. Ashutosh Sharma reports. Match Box

cricket Updated: Apr 13, 2011 02:31 IST
Ashutosh Sharma

After they were upstaged by newcomers Pune Warriors in the opening game, Kings XI Punjab face the unenviable task of having to tackle the formidable Chennai Super Kings at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on Wednesday.

Critics might consider it too harsh to judge Kings XI on the basis of one performance, but the way player after player committed hara-kiri against Pune Warriors to lose by seven wickets, KXIP would know they will have to quickly find a way to turn things around. The team that lost in the semifinals in the first IPL season have been on the decline since then.

Thus it is very clear that the advantage would be with CSK on Wednesday.

The defending champions also have an envious record against Kings XI, having won all but one of their seven encounters. Dhoni's men will be looking to add momentum to their campaign, having pulled off a tough win against Kolkata Knight Riders.

"We know KXIP will be desperate for a win. We, on our part, will be looking to play consistently and create opportunities," CSK coach Stephen Fleming said. The task is cut out for Adam Gilchrist and Co.

With Anirudha Srikkanth stepping up as opener in the first game, CSK's batting looks formidable with the presence of MS Dhoni, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, Scott Styris and Faf Du Plessis.

“They (CSK) are perhaps one of the strongest sides and are the defending champions. They have a very familiar team formation and are confident after their first round win. We know on our part where we went wrong but we are looking for a tough game tomorrow,” Gilchrist admitted.

For KXIP, who managed just 112 in opening game, Shaun Marsh and Gilchrist will have to fire and then hope to find support from the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Abhishek Nayar and Ryan McLaren.

The Punjab camp will be bolstered with David Hussey joining them . The CSK also enjoy bowling superiority, especially through Albie Morkel, Tim Southee, R Ashwin and Sri Lankan off spinner Suraj Randiv. Gilchrist was hopeful about his bowlers. “It is never easy to defend a total so low but still our bowlers made a match out of it.”