Chennai Super Kings are arguably the most consistent of T20 teams, boasting four appearances out of five in IPL finals and two out of three in Champions League title clashes.
They will be up against Sydney Sixers, champions of Australia’s Big Bash League, in their opening game of the ongoing Champions League, at Johannesburg, on Sunday, October 14. Curiously these sides have never met before in a T20 encounter and Sydney Sixers will count on the pace and bounce that the wickets in South Africa offer, much like the ones back home in Australia.
CSK have built their recent successes on the performance of a few valuable players such as Ashwin and Raina. While Ashwin has been maturing constantly as a bowler, especiallsy after donning the India cap, Raina adds to his aggressive batsmanship with his ability to bowl a full quota of overs of spin bowling and some brilliant fielding. Albie Morkel is more than capable of shoring up the lower middle order in the company of Ashwin apart from sharing the new ball with Bollinger.
For Sydney Sixers, their go to man is Shane Watson, arguably the world’s best T20 player at the moment. Watson finished the recent world cup in Sri Lanka by bagging the award for the player of the tournament and given the bouncy nature of wickets in South Africa, the Australia all-rounder is likely to pose more than a few questions to rival batsmen. Ominously, Watson also showed great form with the bat at the top of the order, and the result of Sunday’s match could hinge on his performance with bat and ball alike.
In Michael Starc, the Australian club have an upcoming pace-man who had an impressive showing at the world cup, with his speed, bounce and ability to use the angles. His partner of the world cup, Pat Cummins, will be eager to show that his own great showing at the cup wasn’t just a flash in the pan. Smith, Henriques and Nathan McCullum represent a bowling back up that any captain would love to have.
While the likes of Bollinger, Morkel and Hilfenhaus don’t represent express pace, they are extremely efficient bowlers who know how to get the job done. In Faf du Plessis, CSK have an additional back up bowler, such a useful device to have in a long tournament where your main bowlers could get injured.
CSK will bank on their superior experience to trump their Australian rivals in conditions that are less likely to suit the Indian team. The likes of Vijay, Hussey and Dhoni in their batting line up could prove the difference especially as these players have played together for a number of years.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.