It is a do-or-die situation for Sunrisers Hyderabad, a team that promised much but has delivered little in the IPL-7 season.
Under new captain Darren Sammy, SRH has raised a glimmer of hope of qualifying for the play-off phase after its seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at home. SRH can now fancy its chances against two-time champion Chennai Super Kings when the two meet here at the JSCA Stadium on Thursday.Mysterious
The most experienced and balanced side, with an enviable record in IPL history, CSK’s sudden loss of form is a mystery. The two back-to-back defeats to RCB and Kolkata Knight Riders has not done any harm to its chances of making it to the knockout stage, but it has certainly put a question mark over the team finishing second in the table.
Super Kings, with 16 points from 12 games, needs a victory out of the remaining two matches to play its first knockout match at the Eden Gardens on May 27.
Any slip-up at this stage will only help either Rajasthan Royals or KKR, the two sides behind CSK in the table.
Currently at sixth place (10 points from 12 games), SRH will rely heavily on David Warner, Aaron Finch and Shikhar Dhawan — the top three run-getters — to come good.
Warner flayed the RCB bowling on Tuesday for his fifth half-century this season and with Dhawan too finding his touch — the opening pair put on 100 runs — it provided the right momentum to SRH to go for the kill.
SRH will rely on purple cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with 20 wickets, Dale Steyn (11), Karn Sharma (9) and Amit Mishra (7) to check the strong CSK batting line-up.
CSK’s recent problem has been the inability of its openers to get going. In all the three losses in India, the opening partnership has been abysmal. On top of that, the team will have to find a suitable replacement for Brendon McCullum, who is returning home to be with his wife who is expecting their child.Extra pressure
McCullum’s absence puts extra pressure on CSK at a time when the team is struggling in all the three departments of the game. In the past two games, CSK’s bowling has failed to contain the opposition.
A worried M.S. Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming will have to address these issues to get the team back to winning ways before the all-important knockout stage.
Mohit Sharma (18) has done exceedingly well for CSK. But the worry is India’s two best spinners, R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, have leaked runs in the middle-overs.