Titans will kick-start their CLT20 campaign against the Chennai Super Kings amidst a crowd that would be thronging the stadium to see their local hero MS Dhoni. Not surprisingly, the Dhoni-led side is bound to get all the cheers, but Titan's left handed batsman Jacques Rudolph feels that his team should learn to cope with such situations and enjoy the experience of playing in front of packed crowds.
"The crowd is something we have spoken about. A few guys in our team have not played in front of massive crowds. Sometimes, you can stand and govern your friends at extra cover, you can try and speak to him but you cannot hear him. I think it comes down to awareness point, where the fielder's got to keep watching the captain at all times, make use of hand signals. It is also important not to get swept up by the emotions of a noisy crowd. Just enjoy it. Sometimes people come here and they get nervous, but I think it is a great experience for any cricket player to come out here and we have just got to enjoy it as much as possible."
And when asked about strategies for MS Dhoni who will be playing his first T20 game in front of his home crowd, Rudolph said, "He is in his own town, and he will have a lot of confidence walking out here on Sunday. But as Titans, one of our strengths is that we can focus on our games. We cannot be too worried about other individuals. It is going to be a good, competitive game against CSK."
Competitive it will be and the Titans cannot be taken lightly, especially with the likes of world-class players like AB De Villers and Morne Morkel in the side. "I think we have a very good team, a very well balanced side." Rudolph said. "Unfortunately, we are missing Albie Morkel and Faf du Plessis, but on the other side, we have gained Morne Morkel and AB de Villiers, who have a lot of experience in these conditions. We have trained exceptionally well over the last couple of months, so we've just got to concentrate on our own games and see where it takes us."
It has rained over the last few days and the conditions should suit the Titans fast bowlers, Morne Morkel and Merchant de Lange. "From a conditions point of view, there has been a lot of rain around and the wickets have not been that dry. It seamed a little bit. With the likes of Morne Morkel, who bowls 90-miles plus, and Marchant de Lange, we can strike early against Chennai. This morning, when Morne and the others were bowling, the new ball was going around a bit, which for us, coming to India, it suits us. It is the kind of wicket we play in South Africa. It's the second game (8 pm IST) for us tomorrow, so the first game will give us a good indication to see what the wicket does. We can assess our strategies from maybe just watching the first game."
The Chennai Super Kings have a long batting line up and Rudolph believes that making early inroads in the innings would be crucial. "If we can strike early, we can put them on the back foot. If we get early movement, and we can strike against Chennai early and put them under pressure, we can try and restrict them to a competitive total." Rudolph said.