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Super Kings hopes to reverse trend

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are back in familiar surroundings.

The Ferozeshah Kotla once again beckons these two fabulous stroke-players to get into their act and produce some entertaining cricket.

Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings face off in a match that promises to set the pulse racing. There is an array of explosive batsmen on either side and the bowlers should be praying already for some mercy in this crucial DLF-Indian Premier League clash on Thursday.

“In Twenty20, whenever the top order fires the team has the chance to win. This is (true) for all teams and fortunately my team has been doing well in the batting department. Our top order has done well in four out of six matches so far and I am expecting one of the top three to fire in the remaining matches,” said Sehwag.

Super Kings was thrashed by Sehwag and Co. at the Chepauk and the memories must be fresh for M.S. Dhoni. The departure of Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Jacob Oram has hurt the Chennai outfit after it took off on a roaring note. “Super Kings has struggled with their combination. They were making more than 200 in the initial matches but could not maintain that form. They are struggling, but then no team is weak in the IPL. Any player can turn a match single-handedly because it is a short game,” said Sehwag.

Chennai Super Kings indeed has some worries and Dhoni would be critical to his side’s progress. There are encouraging signs in Suresh Raina’s form and the presence of Stephen Fleming, but Dhoni remains the central figure in his team’s future in this tournament.

Makhaya Ntini needs to justify his reputation even as youngsters like S. Badrinath and Albie Morkel promise a change in the fortunes of a team that was rated high at the end of the auctioning. Parthiv Patel and Raina can be trusted to excel in conditions that test the endurance and concentration of a player. “The temperature (in a 4 p.m. start) will be high and the bowlers will find it tough to bowl,” noted Sehwag.

It will be a tough contest no doubt and much would depend on which team establishes an early advantage. The comprehensive victory for Daredevils over Super Kings in their last match is history. Dhoni and his men will come hard and Sehwag’s Daredevils would do well to shed any complacency. As Sehwag says, an over or even a couple of deliveries, can alter the course of the game in Twenty20.

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