Friday, 23 September 2011

Meet CSK's Opponents in the Group Stage

Other Teams in Group A
For this year's Champions League, ten teams are divided into two groups of five each. Chennai Super Kings is placed in Group A along with 

  1. Mumbai Indians
  2. Cape Cobras
  3. Trinidad & Tobago
  4. New South Wales 
The top two teams from the group qualifies for the semifinals. Reading the names, I am sure it is quite visible that this is a tougher group than Group B. Even Fleming acknowledges that Chennai Super Kings are placed in a tougher group. 3 of the four finalists so far are present in this group. Except for Mumbai Indians, others have played in atleast 1 semi-finals. 

But the good news for Chennai Super Kings is that we play all the matches in Chennai

1. Mumbai Indians:
Mumbai Indians have lost 3 key Indian players to injuries - Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma & Munaf Patel. Considering the quality of the players who are ruled out, any other team would have found it tough to win even a single match. But considering the strength of Mumbai Indians' foreign players, they do have a good chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. But playing in India but still missing home support would seem cruel to the team. 

Key Player to Watch out for: 
1. Pollard: With the loss of Sachin & Rohit, you can expect Pollard to get a lot more chances this season. For any opponent, He would be Mumbai's most feared player. 

My Prediction: 4th 

2. Cape Cobras:
Winners of South African Pro20 tournament, the team boasts big-names like Steyn, Owasis Shah. Duminy, Gibbs, Kemp & Langveldt. But the team performance's might depend largely on the performances of their unknown stars - Vernon Philander & Richard Levi
Key Player to Watch out for
1. Dale Steyn: The success of Cape Cobras would largely revolve around Dale Steyn. They need Steyn to bowl well in all the matches to have any reasonable chance of qualifying for the semifinals

My Prediction: 5th 

3. Trinidad & Tobago
T&T would be coming to the tournament with a huge amount of confidence after defeating its opponents in both its qualifying matches. Though the team has lost its biggest stars - Pollard & Dwayne Bravo to IPL Teams, this team can't still be ruled out from the semi-finals. Expect them to surprise at least 1 or 2 big opponents. 
Key Player to Watch out for
1. Rampaul: Rampaul's current form is a huge plus for the spin-heavy attack. His performance in the powerplay overs would be key to the team's performance

My Prediction: Black Horse in the group.  3rd  

4. New South Wales:
Any team that boasts Watson & Warner as the opening batsmen is to be feared. This is backed up Katich, Hughes, Steve Smith, Stuart Clark & Hauritz. This is one of the most balanced teams in this season. 
Key Player to Watch out for
1. Shane Watson: He is the key player for the team. His batting and bowling skills make him the most crucial player for the team. And I don't think is going to miss another opportunity to re-iterate his value to the team. . 

My Prediction: 2nd in the group stage

My Prediction for CSK: If the venue has been any other place, I would have predicted CSK to end second in the group behind NSW. But considering the home support and the pitch, the possibility of CSK coming second in the league seems remote. 

But if the relaid pitch assists seamers more than spinners, New South Wales might still beat CSK to the top of the league. 

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