The Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings will both be desperate for victory when they meet in Cape Town on Saturday.
Both sides have won just one of their three matches and need to arrest their slide if they are to staying in touch with the leading group.
Kolkata have to pick themselves up after the exhausting defeat in a sensational Super Over hit-out against the Rajasthan Royals at Newlands on Thursday.
Brendan McCullum’s said he felt as though the win and the valuable two points had been “stolen” from them. That Kolkata were even in with a chance batting second was down to a well-paced 46 from former captain Sourav Ganguly in pursuit of a victory target of 151.
The turning point came in the 16th over of the Kolkata innings, when the Rajasthan Royals’ Munaf Patel conceded 22 runs. That dropped Kolkata’s required run-rate to about eight, and only seven runs were required from the final over. They could only manage six as Ganguly was dismissed, and proceeded to run up against a hurricane called Yusuf Pathan who blitzed 18 runs off four balls in the super over to easily beat their effort of 15-1.
McCullum might well try batting first should he win the toss, though, since in domestic 20-overs cricket teams have often easily defended scores of around 150.
Chennai, despite losing a second game on Thursday to the Delhi Daredevils, have displayed the ability to compile big scores, specially with leading run-getter Matthew Hayden (166 runs from three innings) in their ranks.
Their 180-9 in defeat two days ago was the third highest score in Season 2009. If there is one area Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would like to improve, it would be his teams bowling at the death, where it is easy to leak runs when the slog is on.
“(The Delhi Daredevils) bowled well at the death and we were nowhere near them with regards to that. I hope our bowlers will pay attention to that. We took some early wickets, but we gave
them 20 or 30 runs too many,” Dhoni said.
Hayden said he relished big run-chases, though. “The fans got to see almost 400 runs in 40 overs (on Thursday). When the field’s up in the first six overs you have to get the big runs, but you still have to hit them well. We were right with the run-rate all the way through, but the beauty of the cricket in the IPL is that it gets exciting towards the end,” the Aussie said.
Chennai won both matches between these teams in last year’s competition.