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Death bowling, a concern for Chennai and Pune

It’s a battle of the table toppers vs team that is at the bottom of the points tally, it’s a battle of a team that has won four games in a row against a team that has lost five on the trot; but there is more to the fight between Chennai Super Kings and hosts Pune Warriors India at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium here today, apart from the obvious fact that CSK begin as favourites.

Since beating CSK in Chennai, one of the hardest thing to do, PWI have won nothing. They have come close on three occasions since, losing all three in the end.


Pune Warriors India’s Ashok Dinda conceded 316 runs in 33 overs at an economy rate of 9.57

The only common thing, ideally both sides would have loved to avoid it, is the amount of runs these two sides have conceded in the death overs. PWI have the worst economy rate among the nine teams as far as death overs are concerned. Out of nine games they have played so far, they have conceded an average of 52.12 runs per game in the final five overs, excluding their home demolition by Kings XI Punjab, where the visitors finished the game in less than 14 overs. They have conceded more than 50 runs in the final five overs four times, and on three of these four occasions, over 60 runs. From their death overs’ specialist Ashoke Dinda, to Bhuvaneshwar Kumar to Sunday’s debutant Kane Richardson, PWI think tank has tried everything. But on most occasions, they have simply failed to stem the flow of runs.

The team management, including original skipper Angelo Matthews, have gone on record saying the death bowling is one area of concern. However, admitting it is one part, and correcting it is quite another. To make things worse, Richardson seemed to be a somewhat last throw of dice, as he came in with a big reputation of being the death overs’ specialist. Having played just one game so far, against Delhi Daredevils on Sunday, Richardson definitely deserves a few more chances, but that once again underlines the fact that PWI are still to find the right combination to bowl the final five overs, with hardly any choices left.

Although they have won seven games, CSK have hardly been any better than PWI when it comes to bowling the final five overs. Dhoni’s men average 48 runs per game in the death bowling, which is a few too many. From Chris Morris, Ravindra Jadeja to Dwayne Bravo, they also have tried a number of variations without much of a success. Out of the nine games they have played so far, CSK bowlers have leaked over 50 runs six times in the final five overs.

No wonder their assistant coach Steve Rixon went on record saying the bowlers have conceded too many runs towards the end.

The pitch here has been slow and low, and scoring even 40 runs in the final five overs could be the difference between winning and losing.

Finch’s wishlist
>> He plays a similar innings he played vs CSK, not long ago
>> Yuvraj Singh shows his class
>> Bhuvaneshwar Kumar bowls miserly
>> Steve Smith plays a cameo
>> Michael Hussey departs early

Dhoni’s wishlist
>> He whacks a quickfire 50
>> Hussey continues his great run
>> Dwayne Bravo makes an impact with bat and ball
>> Chris Morris makes early inroads
>> Team make amends for the previous loss against PWI

When they last met... Pune surprised Chennai!
In a season where home teams have dominated more often than not, minnows Pune Warriors India created a huge upset by beating Chennai Super Kings comprehensively in their own den on April 15, this year. Aaron Finch provided a blazing start at the top but the CSK bowlers bowled miserly in the middle. Fireworks towards the end by Steven Smith propelled the visitors to a decent score. However, with the kind of power hitters in their ranks, CSK would have fancied their chances to chase down 159, but they never got going and in the end fell short by 24 runs.
 

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