ABU DHABI: When Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni was asked after the Kings XI Punjab game if he thought 205 was a winning score, he replied matter-of-factly: "Well even if you score 205 you also have to take into account that the other team can beat it." On most days, teams would back themselves to defend 205 but Super Kings were vanquished with such force that the game did not go into the final over. Super Kings should not be too hard on themselves though, for they were beaten by an incredible and audacious innings from Glenn Maxwell and a clinical fifty from David Miller. The bowlers could do little to stop Maxwell's reverse sweeps, switch-hits and lap shots; Super Kings would have needed five more fielders to plug those boundaries. Not every team has a batsman who can play such blinders.
Having said that, there are weaknesses in the Super Kings' bowling. Save for Ashish Nehra, who bowled three overs, the rest conceded more than ten an over. That should call for the inclusion of the West Indies legspinner Samuel Badree, who has a miserly T20 economy rate of 5.08. Super Kings may not let go of Dwayne Smith or Brendon McCullum to accommodate him, which means that one of Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo will have to make way.
Delhi Daredevils are still waiting on Kevin Pietersen's fitness. Pietersen was missed in the opening game when the top order fell early. In both matches, they have depended on JP Duminy to shore up the batting. Their seam bowlers made early inroads against Kolkata Knight Riders, and with the next game being played under lights, they could have more assistance from the conditions. Their win over Knight Riders should be a morale booster after a listless opening game.
Watch out for: Ravindra Jadeja leaked 43 off four overs against Kings XI and in his last five competitive games (from the World T20), he has picked up only one wicket. He has also played just one innings since the start of the World T20. With Super Kings possessing a strong top order, he may not get too many opportunities to bat, which means that he has only his bowling to fall back on. The lack of wickets might worry him. Jimmy Neesham was expensive in both games for Daredevils, bowling two overs in each and going for 0 for 26 and 0 for 22. Neesham had a good Champions League in 2013, but hasn't made an impact yet in the IPL. Should Pietersen be fit, one of the overseas players will have to make way so there is pressure on him to keep his place.
ISLAMABAD: All-rounder Shoaib Malik and top-order batsman Azhar Ali, and pace bowler Sohail Tanvir ...