It's now or never for CSK!
The law of averages has probably caught up with the Chennai Super Kings who, after winning three T20 competitions back-to-back, face the prospect of elimination from the Champions League tournament as they take on the 2009 winners the New South Wales Blues here today in the concluding Group A fixture.
Disappointed: CSK's Dhoni
Stranded on two points and at the bottom of the Group with a negative net run rate, defending champions Super Kings, winners of two IPL titles, have won just one game in three outings, against the Nashua Cape Cobras.
The shock defeat to Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, chasing a modest target of 124 by 12 runs, pulled the Super Kings to the depths of despair and they require to play out of their skins against the Blues to not only pick up two valuable points but also boost the net run rate that could come into play in the event of a tie.
The situation in Group A is such that all the five teams have mathematical chance of advancing to the semi-finals. At the top are Mumbai Indians with five points, followed by Blues (4), Cobras (3), T&T (2) and Super Kings (2), in that order, and thus puts a premium on the net run rate.
However, given the slow, two-paced pitch with an inconsistent bounce, it has been a test of character for the teams in negotiating the vagaries of the re-laid surface that has strongly dictated the course of the Champions League contests this year.