The Chennai Super Kings, enjoying an unbeaten record at home with six wins out of six this season, resume their push to the summit of the Indian Premier League here on Wednesday when they take on the Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
The Super Kings, winners of the 2010 IPL and also the Champions League, have one foot in the playoffs with a tally of 16 points from 12 outings as against Kochi's 12 from 13, but fresh from a stunning eight-wicket win against the Rajasthan Royals.
The last time the two met was in Kochi where the hosts came through via the Duckworth-Lewis Method in a rain-affected game. The Super Kings thought they were robbed of vital overs while batting first when the rains interrupted the proceedings reducing the game to 17 overs a side.
However, much water has flowed under the bridge since then with the Super Kings, despite four defeats, very much in the reckoning for a berth in the four-team playoffs while Kochi's progress has been affected by inconsistent performances.
Kochi might like to believe they have a mathematical chance of still making the playoffs if they beat the Super Kings Wednesday, but their chances depend on the results of games involving other contenders.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene, heading a brand new team making its IPL debut, has done reasonably well to marshal his troops as was evident Sunday night when they dismissed no-hopers Rajasthan Royals for 97 and romped to victory in just 7.2 overs.
If anything, the victory highlighted Kochi's inherent potential that has surfaced only intermittently as could be gauged by their victories against three of the current top four teams -- Super Kings, Mumbai Indians (chasing 183) and Kolkata Knight Riders (twice) -- besides Delhi Daredevils and finally the Royals.
As such, Kochi will be that much more motivated on the morrow to beat the Super Kings again and they have the ammunition to shoot down their high-flying hosts captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The likes of openers Brendon McCullum and Parthiv Patel besides Jayawardene and Brad Hodge have all run into form transforming Kochi into a fighting unit.
Their bowlers too, led by the crafty left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh, experienced all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and rookie fast bowler Prasanth Parameswaran apart from spinner Hodge, have been among wickets while Sreesanth continues being temperamental.
As for the Super Kings, they would be watching the league leaders Royal Challengers (17 from 12) vs Kings XI Punjab (12 from 12) game in Dharmasala Tuesday night with more than passing interest. Super Kings will confirm their entry into the playoffs should RCB win.
Yet, given the current mindset of the Super Kings, they would like to avenge the defeat in Kochi. Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming were vocal in expressing their displeasure over using the D/L Method, pointing out that the denial of the final three overs in their innings cost them the game.
In Super Kings' favour, besides the obvious home advantage, is that their players would be coming off a six-day break, fully refreshed and ready to don the war paint and secure in the knowledge that all their top guns, bowlers and batsmen, are in form with Dhoni proving again to be an inspirational leader.
As such, the game promises to provide some fireworks with Kochi keen on finishing the league on a high while the Super Kings are eager to sustain their winning momentum and make it seven out of seven in front of their adoring fans.