Centurion:Their morale low after two defeats in last three matches, Chennai Super Kings brace up for a tough battle against defending champions Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League here on Thursday.
Just one win in the five matches played by them so far has left Chennai third from bottom in the points table.
Rajasthan, who were also struggling until recently, got their campaign back on track by snapping Delhi Daredevils' unbeaten run with a five-wicket triumph on Tuesday.
The win took Rajasthan to fourth on the points table and gave a new lease of life to their title defence hopes.
The batting had let them down in all their defeats but with Yousuf Pathan and Graeme Smith finally striking form in Tuesday's match, Rajasthan's consistently fine bowling can now look forward to being complemented by the willow-wielders.
Last year's runners-up Chennai, on the other hand, are in turmoil and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has already hinted at making changes to the squad, which is missing the services of star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff due to injury.
Dhoni's own form has been nothing to write about. The India captain, rated as one of the best skippers in international cricket right now, has been a flop with the bat so far with just 79 runs in four matches.
The responsibility of leading the batting has invariably fallen on Australian Matthew Hayden and he has handled it with elan.
The left-hander wears the IPL orange cap right now with 215 runs in four matches -- including two half centuries at an average of over 50.
But the rest of the line-up has not backed him enough. Chennai's bowling has been no better with the exception of spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan. The likes of Manpreet Gony and L Balaji have not managed to make an impression as yet.
Shane Warne's Rajasthan, on the other hand, are slowly finding their feet in the tournament.
Their bowling led by Warne himself and the 20-year-old pace sensation Kamran Khan has been impressive throughout.
The batting depends heavily on Smith and he finally came good on Tuesday with 44 runs. The left-hander will once again play a crucial role on Thursday.
"If we keep performing, we can be a force in the competition," said Warne.