All but assured of a berth in the play-offs, Chennai Super Kings would be aiming to quickly get over the shock loss against Kolkata Knight Riders when they take on an unpredictable Sunrisers Hyderabad in an IPL match in Ranchi on Thursday.
Chennai are currently second on the table with 16 points from eight wins and four losses in 12 matches. Hyderabad, on the other hand, are third from bottom with 10 points after managing just five wins in their 12 games.
It was a rare off day for Chennai when they succumbed to a loss against KKR on Tuesday night in Kolkata. The unexpected defeat was the result of some poor batting and Chennai would look to ensure that the batting line-up is high on confidence ahead of the knock-out stage matches.
Openers Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum, both of whom have contributed well to CSK’s campaign so far, failed to get going on Tuesday and would be aiming to make amends on Thursday.
On a positive note, Suresh Raina pulled off his third fifty of this IPL season and looks to be peaking at just the right time. Faf du Plessis, however, remains a slight concern as he is yet to come up with a noteworthy knock for his side.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, on the other hand, has been going about his job without much hullabaloo even though he is without a fifty this season.
Despite the absence of a big knock, Dhoni is averaging 44.60 -- the best by a Chennai player in this IPL and his tally of runs reads 223 in 12 innings, including seven unbeaten knocks.
On the bowling front, some of Chennai’s frailties stood exposed after reliable pacer Mohit Sharma failed to fetch a wicket.
Mohit has been the bowling star for Chennai this season, having taken 18 wickets at an impressive average of 15.22. He is currently second in the highest wicket-takers’ list in this season.
Hyderabad, in contrast, are all but out of contention even though they mathematically kept their chances alive by beating Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday.
Besides being required to win their remaining two matches, Darren Sammy’s Hyderabad need a few other results to go their way for sneaking inside the top four but that looks unlikely.
On a more positive note, they did quite well on the batting front against Bangalore. Relieved of the burden of captaincy, Shikhar Dhawan struck his first fifty of the season.
David Warner, meanwhile, continued his sparkling form by striking his fifth fifty of the season. Warner’s magnificent tally of 434 runs at an average of 48.22 in 12 matches is a record by a Hyderabad batsman in the IPL.
On the bowling front, Hyderabad boats of the season’s top wicket-taker in pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has so far scalped 20. They also have fiery Dale Steyn up their ranks but the South African speedster is yet to make his mark this season.
The teams (from):
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Dale Steyn, David Warner, Darren Sammy (c), Amit Mishra, Aaron Finch, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Brendan Taylor, M Henriques, Venugopala Rao, Jason Holder, S Aniruddha, Manprit Juneja, K L Rahul, Amit Paunikar, Naman Ojha, Ricky Bhui, Ashish Reddy, Chama Milind, Parvez Rasool, Prashant Parameswaran and Karn Sharma.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina, David Hussey, Ravindra Jadeja, Mithun Manhas, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishwar Pandey, Mohit Sharma, Samuel Badree, Faf du Plessis, John Hastings, Matt Henry, Ben Hilfenhaus, Dwayne Bravo, Ashish Nehra, Baba Aparajith, Pawan Negi, Ronit More and Vijay Shankar.