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CSK aim to continue ascent to top three, GT look to play spoiler

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Ahmedabad, May 9: Despite being hit by the absence of key bowlers due to injuries as well as international commitments, Chennai Super Kings will still like to display their on-field ruthlessness while taking on wooden spooners Gujarat Titans in a 12th round IPL encounter here on Friday.
Caught in a mid-table logjam with 12 points from 11 games, the away match against Gujarat will be very important for Ruturaj Gaikwad’s men as they are still not assured of a play-off berth and a defeat could really dent their chances.
With Deepak Chahar and Matheesha Pathirana out of the tournament due to injuries and Mustafizur Rahman back on national duty, CSK’s bowling attack sans Ravindra Jadeja and Tushar Deshpande can at best be termed second string.
A lot will depend on how the three CSK spinners — Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner and Moeen Ali bowl on a track which is likely to be a two-paced surface.
Yet, the manner in which CSK defended a total of 167 in Dharamsala against Punjab Kings will give their fans hope of upping the ante against Titans, who have already lost seven in the tournament so far.
A win will take them to third place in the standings, ahead of Sunrisers Hyderbad by virtue of better net run-rate.
Among the three teams stuck on 12 points, only CSK (+0.700) enjoys a positive net run-rate.On paper, bottom-placed Titans are still in the mix but with a maximum tally of 14 points, it would be very difficult for the Shubman Gill-led side to get into the top four.
The side is low on confidence having managed just one win from their last five matches and has struggled in all departments of the game.
Their bowling has lost firepower in absence of the injured Mohammed Shami, while the captaincy responsibility has weighed down heavily on the talented opener Gill, who has three single digit scores and a highest of 35 in his last five outings.Sai Sudharsan, Shahrukh Khan and David Miller have also been inconsistent.
The bowling unit needs to improve its performance as the likes of Mohit Sharma and Josh Little have been leaking runs in the Powerplay.
While defending a paltry 147, their bowlers gave away 92 runs in the Powerplay against RCB, who chased down the target in just 13.4 overs.With no support from the new ball bowlers, the Afghan spin duo of Noor Ahmad and Rashid Khan also seemed less effective.CSK, on the other hand, have no such concerns with skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad leading by example.He has been their top run-getter with 541 runs from 11 innings, just one run away from Virat Kohli in the race for the Orange Cap.
Match starts at 7.30 PM. (PTI)

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