IPL 2018 | Match 57 | CSK vs SRH: It’s time for the playoffs! Chennai Super Kings and the Sunrisers Hyderabad are to be locked in a Qualifier match tonight at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai at 20:00 IST. Both are placed on top of the table with 18 points and a slight difference in net run rate.

Although both teams have maintained their position on top, it wasn’t easy. SRH spent the first half and the beginning of the second half of the season only winning matches to the point where captain Kane Williamson was asked what his secret of success was. However, once they were well beyond the other teams in terms of points which subsequently earned them a spot in the playoffs, they have faced three consecutive defeats. Thankfully, the defeats didn’t do much harm to their place on the table but we can’t say the same for their reputation.

In case of CSK, the last few matches have seen them go up and down like a sine wave. There is no specific mistake to pinpoint other than inconsistency. They will be going up against arguably the best bowling attack in the IPL and if things do not click today, they will be looking forward to an eliminator. Ambati Rayudu lost his footing in their last match against King XI Punjab. Luckily, it didn’t do much harm to their chances of winning. Dwayne Bravo also hasn’t seemed like himself in the last few games. He hasn’t been scoring much, and well, Raina didn’t even give him a chance to even come near the crease in the last match. With the biggest fan base in the tournament, the pressure will be extremely high, let’s hope they don’t succumb to it.

Wankhede Stadium is a high-scoring field so this could get very nasty. Weather forecasts predict the usual clear, humid evening so there will be no disturbance tonight.

We know their main weaknesses after following them for 14 matches each. SRH’s bowling form has gone down drastically with even Rashid Khan unable to shine. Kane Williamson seemed to be their only hope on the batting front, so against a superior batting line-up like Chennai Super Kings, they have a difficult task ahead of them. Also, the fact that their last two encounters with CSK this season went their opponent’s way will not help with their confidence tonight.

CSK has had a problem with their death-bowling and might end up giving up too many runs, changing the tide towards SRH. Also, the fact that if Dhoni falls, the rest falls with him is an issue. The team has become too dependent on Dhoni, expecting him to come in and finish the game with a six every time. He has provided mostly but in a crucial game like tonight, anything could happen and it is important for the team to have a clear head about their individual contributions to the team effort.

Chennai Super Kings changed their line-up around to mess with the KXIP spinners and pacers but tonight, they will probably be bringing back their original line-up with Shane Watson opening along with Ambati Rayudu. Dwayne Bravo may be moved down a position to keep him as the back-up as he seems to bat better when the team really needs him, to be replaced by either Sam Billings or Faf du Plessis.

To sum it up, the best batting side will be clashing with the best bowling side of the tournament.

In case of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Carlos Brathwaite did not quite make a good impression in his debut in the last game so he is likely to be removed. Shreevats Goswami, on the other hand, has a good day on the field so SRH may be keen on trying out the likes of him once more.

Both teams have clashed on the grounds eight times previously of which CSK held the upper hand in six of those matches.

Two teams on top with more weaknesses than strengths – they’ve survived this far with their points alone; now, with no safety net, will they be able to do the same? Well, one has to win and the other has to lose. Watch tonight (and keep a pacemaker handy, just in case) to find out.

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