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Super Kings look to clinch semi final spot

The Chennai Super Kings’ Matthew Hayden now looks a sure bet for the Orange Cap in Season 2009 as he continues to rack up the runs in the DLF Indian Premier League.

Hayden has amassed a massive 546 runs in his twelve innings. The Chennai Super Kings take on the Kolkata Knight Riders at Centurion on Monday and then face the Kings XI Punjab in Durban on Wednesday, giving the attacking Australian opener two more chances to increase his tally of runs. Incidentally, last year in the inaugural season of the DLF IPL the Orange Cap for the most runs was won by another Australian, Shaun Marsh, with 616, in the colours of the Kings XI Punjab.

The Chennai Super Kings, of course, are likely to make the semi-finals, so Hayden should have at least one more innings to further add to his massive aggregate. Marsh hit a century and five fifties in season 2008, while Hayden, way out in front in Season 2009, has collected five half-centuries, with a highest score of 89.

See-sawing form in Season 2009 of the DLF IPL has made it difficult to pick winners, even when a team like the last-placed Kolkata Knight Riders is involved – testimony to which are the last two games played by Brendon McCullum and his men. So the Chennai Super Kings, a quality outfit who have looked a good bet for the Semi Finals from early in the tournament, will be taking no chances when they face the Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday.

The Kolkata Knight Riders’ record of one win in 12 matches suggests they might be easy meat, but they have the players to cause an upset in their final two games.

There is nothing a team can do when they are playing badly and getting thrashed. But when, as in the last couple of games, a team like the Kolkata Knight Riders have got into potential winning positions and lost, you would think team spirit is bound to be affected. Hopefully Captain Brendon McCullum will be able to lift his men tomorrow and hope that they score in access of the 173-4 they had set up against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday.

In the defense of the Kolkata Knight Riders they were again in a good position against the Deccan Chargers on Saturday before Rohit Sharma got the Deccan Chargers home by slamming most of the 26 runs that came in the final over.

McCullum apologized for his reaction to a no-ball called on the first delivery of that over, which helped the Deccan Chargers re-group. “It was purely out of emotion,” the New Zealander said. And you can understand where he’s coming from, given his side’s record and the fact that they then proceeded to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

“We are a committed bunch of guys and we are determined to turn things around,” McCullum added.

The Chennai Super Kings themselves are not resting on their laurels. Even though they beat the Mumbai Indians in their last match by seven wickets with five balls to spare, Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: “We keep making the same mistakes. We cannot do that outside the league stages”.

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