Super Kings keen to seal semis spot

Unbeaten so far, table-toppers Chennai Super Kings will eye a hat-trick of victories to seal the semifinal spot when they square off against winless Brisbane Heat of Australia in their third Group B match of the Champions League Twenty20 here on Saturday.

The contrast could not have been more in the two teams’ fortunes. While Chennai are on top, Brisbane are at the bottom of the points table.

Chennai, IPL runners-up this year, are among the favourites to lift the Champions League for a second time after clinching the trophy in 2010.

And the sheer depth in the line-up was displayed on Thursday when Suresh Raina smashed a quickfire half-century while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni produced a belligerent unbeaten knock of 63 for CSK to post a stunning 202 on the board against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

In fact, their batting firepower gives CSK all the aces. With in-form batsmen like Dhoni and Raina, CSK can take any opposition line-up to task.

But a lot more would be expected of the likes of Michael Hussey, who showed some spark in his 21-ball 23 in the previous match. Not to forget all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who hasn’t quite got a chance to dazzle so far.

Raina’s 57-ball 84 was perfectly matched by Dhoni’s pyrotechnics as the hard-hitting local skipper broke the spirits of the Sunrisers bowlers with his ruthless batting display.Such was the brutality that neither speed nor spin provided any challenge to Dhoni as he decorated his 19-ball knock with an astonishing eight sixes.

Dhoni, in the process, also struck the fastest fifty in the history of the Champions League, reaching the landmark in just 16 balls and surpassing West Indian Kieron Pollard’s record (50 off 18 balls). 

Brisbane, on the other hand, are all but eliminated from the competition. Handed defeats in the two matches they have played so far, Brisbane need to win to stay alive in the event.

The depleted Australian outfit, which failed miserably with the bat in the games against Trinidad & Tobago and the Titans, will be expecting its batsmen to show more responsibility.

All-rounder Dan Christian will also have to carry the batting burden. Chris Lynn, the big-hitting middle-order batsman, is another player who can make an impact.The bowling unit has done well so far but have found little or no support from the team’s batsmen.

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