IPL 7 CSK vs. SRH: Preview
The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League is drawing to a close after over a month of exciting cricket, but there are still a few crucial games left to be played and the tussle for the remaining two qualifying spots is heating up. With Chennai and Punjab having already secured qualification, there are as many as five teams being in the running for the remaining spots. Some of these teams are dependent on other results going their way as well, but nevertheless will be looking to give their best in the hope of making the cut.
The Chennai vs. Hyderabad game is one such fixture, and the Sunrisers need to win it by a large margin if they are to retain any hope of qualifying for the knockouts. Facing them are the Super Kings, the most successful team in the history of the tournament, and a team the Sunrisers have failed to beat in their previous three encounters. The game will be played in Ranchi, which is Chennai’s home for the season, and they will be looking to end things there on a high note.
The Hyderabad team has been patchy all tournament, and a much hyped batting lineup has underperformed badly, leading to their current standing low down in the table. The Sunrisers bowling unit has been impressive as always, but has been let down too many times by the lack of runs on the board. With just two wins in their previous five outings, it will take something truly special for Hyderabad to emerge triumphant in this game.
On the other end of the spectrum lies Chennai, a team with several in form batsmen in their ranks. Their bowling has been average, but with the large amount of international experience in their side they have comfortably won most of their games. They have suffered a late slump in form lately, losing both of their previous games against Kolkata and Bangalore, and this may be a sign of weakness that the Hyderabad team may look to exploit. The departure of the dangerous Brendon McCullum, who has returned home, will also require a reshuffle of the batting order and may cause some instability in the team.
Analyzing the players on each side, it is clear that the Hyderabad team’s problems are caused by the lack of form at the top of the order. Shikhar Dhawan and Aaron Finch have not put enough on the board for the opening wicket, and this has put too much pressure on the middle order. The removal of Dhawan from the captain’s post seems to have helped his batting though, and the promotion of David Warner to open the batting also seems to have been a successful move. These two absolutely need to put on a big opening stand for Hyderabad to have any chance at all. Hyderabad fans will also be hoping that Finch rediscovers his lethal touch, as the team sorely needs him. Naman Ojha has been the standout performer for the Sunrisers this season, and has shown both aggression and a cool head as required by his team. These four should look to play out most of the innings between them if the team expects a big score.
The Hyderabad bowling has been good all season, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar being the standout performer and current Purple Cap holder. Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra are impressing on occasion, but are capable of more. Youngster Karan Sharma has also been in good form, and all of these men will need to bowl very tight today to restrict the Chennai batsmen.
In the Chennai team, the departure of McCullum will probably see Faf du Plessis promoted to open the batting alongside Dwayne Smith, provided he is declared fully fit. We will also see David Hussey come into the team to add a little more batting depth, with Samuel Badree being another possibility Dhoni might consider to bolster his spin department. Suresh Raina notched up his second consecutive fifty in the last game, and his contribution will be essential if Chennai are to set a large score. Dhoni and Jadeja are always present for some late fireworks as well.
The Chennai bowling meanwhile has been too dependent on a few individuals, and this was exposed against Kolkata, when Ashwin and Mohit Sharma failed to take wickets. Besides them, the rest of the bowlers appeared toothless, and even Mohit Sharma is too inconsistent to be a proper spearhead. The addition of Samuel Badree may be what Chennai truly need, and they should evaluate their options carefully with the playoffs around the corner. Their fielding last game was also something of concern and they will be looking to improve in that department as well.
Ultimately Hydrerabad will be hurt more by a loss tomorrow, while Chennai are secure, but they will be looking to end their two game losing streak and establish a new batting order before the playoff matches start next week. The toss is something both captains will look to win, and the team winning should look to bat first on the Ranchi wicket. Only time will tell whether it is the Sunrisers or the Super Kings who emerge triumphant today, but we can look forward to another thriller in an already exciting IPL season.