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IPL 2019: Sunrisers Hyderabad look to stall Chennai Super Kings juggernaut at home

Ambati Rayudu will be aiming to make a statement when a marauding Chennai Super Kings take on a desperate Sunrisers Hyderabad in an IPL encounter

cricket Updated: Apr 18, 2019 07:00 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Chennai Super Kings cricketer Faf Du Plessis (R) celebrates with teammates.
Chennai Super Kings cricketer Faf Du Plessis (R) celebrates with teammates.(AFP)
         

Over the years, Chennai Super Kings have flourished as a well-oiled T20 outfit under MS Dhoni and it has been no different in this edition. Perfect planning has seen them win seven of their eight games, putting them on top of the standings with 14 points.

Most CSK players have managed to live up to their roles. At different junctures, they have put their hands up and pulled the team out of trouble.

Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir led their charge on a dicey Chepauk wicket to skittle out Royal Challengers Bangalore for just 70 in the tournament opener. Dwayne Bravo bowled an excellent last over against Rajasthan Royals, picking up two wickets and conceding just three runs to hand CSK an eight-run win.

READ: Former India skipper not happy with Pant’s exclusion from World Cup squad

In his previous over, Bravo was belted for 19 runs but Dhoni kept faith in him and the West Indian delivered. The spin trio of Harbhajan, Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja conceded just 61 runs in 12 overs to play a key role in CSK’s 22-run win over Kings XI Punjab.

Against Kolkata Knight Riders, Deepak Chahar returned his best IPL figures of three for 20 to reduce them to 24 for four from which they never recovered. Faf Du Plessis’ 43 meant CSK didn’t collapse as they won by seven wickets.

Royals had the return leg in the hands till Jadeja and Mitchell Santner hit a six off the first and the last ball in the final over by Ben Stokes to snatch victory. Earlier, CSK were struggling at 24 for four but fifties from Ambati Rayudu (57) and Dhoni (58) steadied their ship.

In their last match, against Knight Riders, Tahir’s four for 27 and Shardul Thakur’s economical spell of two for 18 restricted the hosts from posting a mammoth total and then Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 58, his first half-century of the season, and Jadeja’s late cameo saw them through.

READ: Ambati Rayudu posts cryptic tweet after ICC World Cup 2019 snub

Their Tuesday’s opponents, Sunrisers Hyderabad, have no such luxuries. While there bowling has been in top gear, same can’t be said about their batsmen, especially the middle-order. After winning three of their first four matches, Sunrisers have lost their last three games and on all those occasions the batsmen have floundered.

They are too dependent on the opening partnership of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. They once again gave Sunrisers a good start in the last match against Delhi Capitals but after their dismissal, Sunrisers lost their way, losing eight wickets for just 15 runs.

One positive for them will be the return of skipper Kane Williamson, who looked rusty in the last match, but will have to get back into the groove if Sunrisers are to keep their play-offs hopes alive. Dropped from the last match, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan are expected to return to the line-up. If they do so, they will have to contribute much more than what they have so far.

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 23:25 IST

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