The Sunrisers Hyderabad face the Chennai Super Kings at Pune for the first match of Sunday’s double-header. The top two teams on the points table take on each other in a clash that could fortify or endanger one team’s chances of booking a top-two slot.
CSK are coming off of a disappointing loss against Rajasthan, while SRH have not lost in quite a while as their batting improves with every game. Can SRH remain undefeated, or will CSK be the one to break through?
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shakib Al Hasan, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Rashid Khan, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan, Mohammad Nabi, Basil Thampi, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Sachin Baby, Chris Jordan, Tanmay Agarwal, Shreevats Goswami, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Alex Hales.
Chennai Super Kings
MS Dhoni (c), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, David Willey.
Where the teams stand
Just when the Sunrisers were looking invincible with only their bowling performing out of their skins, their batsmen have joined the act. SRH’s nine-wicket victory over DD while chasing close to 190 is an astounding feat for a team that was struggling to score above 150 just a few matches ago. Kane Williamson has continued his golden run, while Dhawan is starting to hit the ball well again. Pandey and Yusuf have looked destructive in shades, and are potential threats against an under-performing CSK bowling attack. Hales’s explosiveness at the top has given Dhawan much breathing space and has helped SRH get off to better starts than before, helping the entire batting cope better and play their natural game.
The SRH bowling attack has made the headlines for all the right reasons recently. Their heroics are no secret to anyone. Their attack keeps SRH in the game regardless of how their batting performs as they have done so many times already. They had an off day against an in-form Rishabh Pant, who took them to the cleaners, but one expects them to fail in a fit of imperfection. As long as they make sure that their DD performance was a one-off, they will make life difficult for the CSK batsmen, who need this win much more than the Sunrisers
Fantasy Picks: With their batsmen performing too now, one can pick any of the eleven players and there is a decent chance that they will perform. Foremost is the attack, with Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar the backbones. Hales, Dhawan, and Williamson are worthy picks amongst the batsmen.
Chennai Super Kings
Chennai’s batting has been quite consistent in terms of performances in this years IPL so far, but as Dhoni pointed out in last games post-match conference, their bowling has been problematic. They have been expensive far too often this season, at least partly due to the constant chopping and changing by Dhoni to attain the perfect balance. CSK have missed Deepak Chahar’s four overs, given how inconsistent their other bowlers have been.
CSK’s batsmen have a difficult task on their hands. They are up against perhaps one of the best T20 attacks to have been compiled and are responsible for getting the team to a score good enough for their bowlers to defend. Raina, Rayudu, and Dhoni will be key to their efforts. CSK will have to play out of their skins to win this one.
Fantasy Picks: The three batsmen will walk into any T20 team at this point. Watson is another pick who has been in good form but has failed to get the big scores he managed earlier. Amongst the bowlers, Ravindra Jadeja has been the most economical whenever he has bowled, which has not been as often as one might think.
SRH win. CSK have far too much to do to win against an all-round SRH.
Could CSK snare an unlikely win, or will SRH prove too strong? Let us know in the comments and poll below.