Two teams with extremely different trends in form clash as the Sunrisers Hyderabad host the Chennai Super Kings at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
While MS Dhoni’s men in yellow have looked in imperative form and cruise at the top of the table with just one loss this season in 8 games, the Sunrisers have undone a good start to the season by losing 3 games on the trot and languish in 6th place with 6 points in 7 games. They will be desperate to bounce back on Wednesday and would be keen to prevent Chennai from roaring into a confirmed playoff spot.
— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) April 17, 2019
The worry with Sunrisers, incredibly, has turned out to be their batting, which was firing on all cylinders at the beginning of the season. In their last 3 games, they have suffered two stunning collapses, getting bowled out for 96 against Mumbai and 116 against Delhi. Hyderabad’s over-dependence on openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow has been exposed, and the other key batsmen like skipper Kane Williamson and all-rounder Vijay Shankar really need to step up to the plate, as they face a bowling lineup that has been arguably the best this season in the Chennai Super Kings. Be it spin in the form of Imran Tahir or Ravindra Jadeja, or pace in the form of Deepak Chahar, CSK bowlers have come out on top in most fixtures. One could say that the bowling has taken the pressure off the batsmen, but when you have the likes of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis et al in your squad, one would not be too worried. The Sunrisers bowling though has not been too bad, and the Orange Army would hope the likes of Bhuvneshwar and Rashid deliver key performances.
Here are a few key battles to look out for in this match:
David Warner vs Imran Tahir
This will be a key battle to watch out for. Warner has been in top form after returning to the IPL, and leads the Orange Cap listing with 400 runs in 7 games at an average of 80 and a strike rate of over 140, with a century and 4 fifties to his name. He has smacked the ball all over the park and has often been a sole shining light in a depressing SRH scorecard. However, he might meet his match today in Imran Tahir, who with 13 wickets in 8 games, is CSK’s wrecker-in-chief. Tahir has not only been deadly at snaring wickets, but he has also kept things incredibly quiet with a miserly economy of 5.76. The South African would love to run to the stands in his trademark celebration after dismissing Warner today, and this is a battle that the fans would love.
Also Read: The Fantasy Guide for this match
Jonny Bairstow vs Deepak Chahar
Warner’s main ally has been his opening partner Bairstow. The Englishman has had an impressive debut season, scoring 304 runs in 7 games at an average of over 43. However, his form has deteriorated slightly, and he has gotten out early a couple of times in recent games, and CSK would hope to do that again tonight with the help of Deepak Chahar. The Indian pacer has been impressive thus far, picking up 10 wickets in 8 games at an impressive economy of just 6.64. Dhoni would hope such form to continue in Chahar who would be key in striking early. This is a key player battle to watch out for.
MS Dhoni vs Rashid Khan
MS Dhoni has lived up to his billing of being the best finisher of the game in this season’s IPL. The skipper has scored 230 runs in 8 games and has an average of 77. Dhoni can dictate the run flow at will, and this becomes increasingly important in chasing situations. MSD’s capability of reading the game and playing as the situation demands have been key to CSK’s multiple successful run chases. However, Hyderabad would draw inspiration from Dhoni’s failure against Sunil Narine in their latest chase against KKR and would hope their star spinner Rashid Khan, gets a similar result in his battle against Captain Cool. Rashid has taken 8 wickets thus far this season and would look to add the prized scalp of Dhoni to the list. This player battle could prove decisive to the game’s result.