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Chennai : The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fan is said to be compulsively superstitious. He or she is always on the look out for hints to be interpreted as harbingers of good fortune. The cheeky Dwayne Bravo dance gig, a typical M.S. Dhoni heist in the death overs and the customary nail-biting win, all form a part of this.

On Thursday, the last two arrived in good measure against the Delhi Daredevils. The nervy one-run win suggested that, after a one-year gap, the good old tense IPL nights were well and truly back. For the side and the fans who have endured much off the field in the recent past, it was a timely balm.

However, nothing is more reassuring than a confident start. The Kings, in spite of the victory, did find the ground below their feet a bit shaky. Brendon McCullum’s habitual setting-the-tone innings didn’t materialise; Suresh Raina didn’t fire and a middle-overs slump almost cost it the match.

When it takes on Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), in the latter’s first match of the season, here on Saturday, it will seek a more authoritative performance, something which will calm the nerves as well as serve as a launch-pad for its three-game away run which follows.

The SRH squad, however, is a formidable force on paper. Its foreign contingent — Dale Steyn, Trent Boult, Kane Williamson, David Warner, Eoin Morgan, Moises Henriques and Ravi Bopara — is as good as it gets. Each one is a match-winner on his day.

The selection of team has become difficult because local players performing to a point. The one luxury we do have this year against the previous seasons is a very diverse and flexible overseas squad. We have seven players here available for selection.

We can go with many different combinations — from four fast bowlers to all-rounders. But, there is no set four. We are just going to pick the best combination for the given day.”

Also of significance will be how fresh these players are, for, the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Steyn, Williamson, Warner and Boult have had long seasons, playing deep into the recently concluded World Cup, and Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar lacking match practice.


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