IPL 2018: Shikhar Dhawan doubtful as Sunrisers Hyderabad face Chennai Super Kings
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IPL 2018: Shikhar Dhawan doubtful as Sunrisers Hyderabad face Chennai Super Kings

MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are high on confidence after all-rounder Shane Watson’s century in the win over Rajasthan Royals while Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) are coming off a big setback in the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL 2018).

cricket Updated: Apr 21, 2018 22:05 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
IPL 2018,2018 Indian Premier League,Sunrisers Hyderabad
Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK’s) Shane Watson (c) took the star turn with bat and ball in their win vs Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. MS Dhoni’s team would be keen to continue the good run in their 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) away match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), who are likely to be without star batsman Shikhan Dhawan. (AFP)

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) were hit by ‘Gaylestorm’ in their previous fixture and there might be no respite for the Kane Williamson-led side when they take on a rampaging Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal on Sunday.

Having found different match-winners in their previous three wins in the Indian Premier League (IPL) — Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja and Shane Watson — CSK have resumed from where they had left two years ago.

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Even in their solitary defeat so far in IPL 2018, against Kings XI Punjab, CSK had captain MS Dhoni playing an innings that reminded everyone of his mettle despite critics saying his finishing powers are waning.

In the likely absence of opener Shikhar Dhawan, who suffered an elbow injury off the first ball he faced against KXIP in a game SRH lost by 15 runs, the IPL 2016 winners would need a power-hitter at the top. However, team mentor VVS Laxman said on Saturday that they have ‘enough luxury’ in the squad to make up for the possible loss.

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Dhawan did not train with the SRH team on Saturday evening in a bid to give his injured elbow some more time to recuperate, having suffered the blow off a Barinder Sran delivery on Thursday.

Williamson struck a fine half-century against KXIP but SRH would also want to address their bowling concerns after the likes of Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan were belted around the park. Laxman credited KXIP’s win to their stalwart Chris Gayle’s mayhem (104 not out off 63 balls), but SRH would not want any repeat of that big setback after a neat start to their IPL 2018 campaign.

Restricting opponents for modest totals and chasing them successfully was the norm for SRH until the game against KXIP, where they faltered with bat and ball.

READ MORE | IPL 2018: Shane Warne apologises after Rajasthan Royals’ ‘terrible display’

On the other hand, CSK are turning out to be the mighty warriors of IPL 2018, proving to be the toughest team to beat.

After Bravo’s heroics against Mumbai to turn the game on its head and Dhoni’s masterclass against Punjab, it was Watson’s turn on Friday night as he demolished Rajasthan Royals (RR) with an all-round show — a 57-ball 106 followed by a miserly spell of 3-0-13-1.

Chennai Super Kings not only seem to have got their mix right, but with key players delivering in crucial moments, they have reached the top of the IPL 2018 points table, despite sharing a somewhat similar record with SRH and KXIP (four matches, three wins and one defeat).

CSK seem to be shedding the tag of ‘Dad’s Army’ with their 30-something band coming to the party. SRH though will have to regain their poise before the home crowd after their Plan A came apart against KXIP.

First Published: Apr 21, 2018 19:35 IST