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, 2013 IPL runners-up, 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 night 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 that gives CSK a definitive edge over Brisbane. 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 Mike 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.

On Thursday night, 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 tomorrow 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. Chasing a modest 123-run target against Titans in their previous game, Brisbane were bundled out for a meager 119 with opener Joe Burns being the only noteworthy contributor once again. After 43-ball 45 against T&T, Burns made 37 against the Titans.

Brisbane would hope that captain James Hopes, who has plenty of international experience having also captained IPL side Delhi Daredevils, gives them a solid start along with Burns. Besides, 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. Chennai also have some bowling issues to deal with given that they ended up conceding 190 runs to Hyderabad last night despite having the cushion of a mammoth total. The likes of Mohit Sharma and Albie Morkel would have to watch their economy rate or else they could end up helping Brisbane's batsmen regain lost form on Saturday.

Teams (from):

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (C & Wk), R Ashwin, S Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Jason Holder, Michael Hussey, Imtiaz Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohit Sharma, Murali Vijay.

Brisbane Heat: James Hopes (capt), Daniel Christian, Peter Forrest, Cameron Gannon, Nathan Hauritz, Chris Lynn, Dom Michael, Chris Sabburg, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Mathew Gale, Chris Hartley, Alex Kepm, Alister Mcdermott, Kemar Roach.


Latest News from Sports News Desk