Pune: Two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Chennai Super Kings may have their home advantage after having to play in Pune, but they have ensured they will not be short on support when they take on Rajasthan Royals on Friday.
Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a favourite among fans across the country and there will be no shortage of yellow jerseys after 1,000 fans travelled to Pune in a special train from Chennai. The franchise has set up an initiative to take supporters all the way from Chennai to Pune for the match — a distance of 1,200km — on a specially chartered train called ‘Whistle Podu Express’ that left Chennai Central on Thursday.
Super Kings officials were present as a flag-waving sea of yellow got on board the train for the journey ahead. Those fans who made the trip were given complimentary tickets for the match against the Royals. The official CSK Twitter account of the franchise posted images and videos of the fans on-board the train.
Chennai had to move their match away from their den due to protests on Cauvery water dispute that marred their victory over Kolkata Knight Riders at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on April 10.
“The IPL governing council assessed the current situation in Chennai and a decision was taken to shift the matches from the MA Chidambaram Stadium to Pune,” a league statement said after the first match.
“We had decided that we will host all matches in Chennai after we are promised foolproof security there. But today they (local authorities) informed CSK that they will not be able to handle security,” IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said.
The Yellow brigade will have to play their remaining six home matches and when asked who does it feel to play away from home, Kasi Viswanathan, CEO of Chennai Super Kings, told Gulf News: “We have no choice. But we are confident of doing well here.”
After starting the campaign on a winning note, defeating hosts Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium in the opening game of the IPL XI and then the victory against Kolkata, the two-time champions lost their third game to Punjab at Mohali owing to a few injuries.
In two consecutive games, Chennai lost two of their star players to injuries. Kedar Jadhav, who hit the match-winning shot off Mustafizur Rahman to give Chennai the win against Mumbai despite returning to the crease after being injured, was ruled out for the rest of the season, while CSK’s backbone and the league’s second leading run-scorer Suresh Raina has been ruled of two games after sustaining a calf injury against Kolkata.
However, it is heartening for the Chennai fans after Dhoni, despite a sustaining a back spasm, scored an unbeaten 79 to take close to Punjab’s stiff target of 198 at Mohali. Dhoni will be no stranger to Pune after turning up for the franchise for the last two seasons when Chennai Super Kings were banned for two years on corruption charges.
On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals will be eager to bounce back from the drubbing they received at the hands of Kolkata on Wednesday. Playing their fifth game with two wins and two losses, Royals’ batting is a cause for concern. Despite a good start, Rajasthan could only score a paltry 160 against Kolkata. Their star recruit Ben Stokes has not live up to his reputation yet and they will once again depend on their in-form batsman Sanju Samson to steady Rajasthan’s innings.
Catch the match:
Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals, 6.30pm, Chennai
Match broadcast on beIn Sports 13 HD