IPL 2018: It’s Chennai Super Kings batting vs Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling in Qualifier 1
Sunrisers Hyderabad may have finished top of the standings but three consecutive defeats leading to Qualifer 1 have laid bare the chinks in their armour.
While the batting has relied heavily on skipper Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan, it’s the bowling that has come under pressure in those three games. While twice they failed to defend a total, in the third game they conceded 200-plus runs which the batsmen failed to chase.
On Tuesday, they will be up against Chennai Super Kings, one of the best teams in IPL history and who have made the final in six of the eight editions they have been part of. For Sunrisers to harbour any hopes of toppling the two-time champions, they will have to be on top of their game, as teams who have erred have paid the price.
The last time they met, Chennai recorded a comfortable eight-wicket win, thanks to Ambati Rayudu’s brilliant century, and humbled the Sunrisers attack which till that point looked indomitable.
That was the start of a three-game losing streak that Sunrisers endured, which may prove detrimental in a format where momentum is the key.
Still, the Sunrisers’ bowling attack has enough depth to trouble any opposition and they would have to need out of the slump when they square off against Super Kings at the Wankhede for a place in the final.
In Rashid Khan and Siddarth Kaul, SRH have two bowlers among the top-10 wicket-takers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar may have not been among wickets but if the Wankhede plays true under lights, he can be a handful.
The Super Kings will depend on their batting to get the job done with their bowling being up and down this season.
From Shane Watson and Rayudu’s pyrotechnics at the top to MS Dhoni’s calming influence and brute force at the death, their batsmen have delivered when the chips have been down.
They have mastered the art of making the final under Dhoni and that will be an advantage. While Williamson has led the Sunrisers well till now, it remains to be seen how he stands up to Dhoni and whether he manages to outsmart the best in the business.
History has showed that pedigree is no good if one falters on the day.
No one is better placed than Dhoni to know the importance of getting things right when it matters. While he has won twice in the final, he has also lost on four occasions.
“We like to do the process right because that’s what gives you the result. I remember the finals, where it went wrong and you need to remember where it went wrong. On that particular day, you have to be at the best because everyone wants to win,” Dhoni had said after the victory over Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.
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