Table toppers Chennai Super Kings (CSK) host SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai on Tuesday. CSK remain firm favourites because of their terrific home record. The two teams have met on 12 occasions in the IPL. CSK have dominated these encounters by winning nine matches. Last season, CSK thrashed SRH on four occasions including the qualifier and the final. But in season 12, it was SRH who trumped their souther rivals at home.
Team Talk: But if CSK has to keep their domination on SRH going then a few changes are in order. The form of the top three will be a primary worry for MS Dhoni.
Against RCB it was Dhoni’s Herculean effort that brought CSK to the brink of victory. Last season’s hero Shane Watson (147 runs), Ambati Rayudu (192) and Suresh Raina (207) haven’t lived up to expectations. The pressure has been entirely on Dhoni, who leads the charts with 314 runs and the batting unit needs to step up. Harbhajan could be given a bigger role, he did not bowl at all in the last game, given how the pitch will behave. Karn Sharma has an outside chance, should CSK look at beefing their spin department.
SRH may have put an end to their three-game losing streak by beating KKR, but they are still bogged down by a few issues. The middle-order continues to look wobbly and openers David Warner (517 runs) and Jonny Bairstow (445 runs) scoring the majority of the runs. What augurs well for the team is that the bowlers are performing in unison. Khaleel Ahmed returned with an impressive 3/33 while Rashid Khan has been economical consistently. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, despite going for runs, has been picking wickets in the death overs.
Pitch Report: The Chepauk pitch has been sluggish in the games played so far and coach Stephen Fleming attributed it to being one of the reasons for top-order’s poor show.
“We played on Chennai tracks, where it is little bit difficult to find form. We are being little bit reckless and that comes about from guys who want to find form and do the job, but what is happening is we are relying heavily on Dhoni and Rayudu to patch things up and we won’t win the competition if this continues,” Fleming sounded a warning.
Teams: Chennai Super Kings- MS Dhoni (captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan (wk), Scott Kuggeleijn.
Sunrisers Hyderabad- Kane Williamson (capt), Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, T Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Shreevats Goswami, Khaleel Ahmed, Yusuf Pathan, Billy Stanlake, David Warner, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Shakib Al Hasan, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Martin Guptill, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem.