Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad faced each other in the first qualifier and the final of IPL 2018. The Yellow team ended on the winning side on both occasions. Tonight’s tussle at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad, will be their first meeting since the last season.
While CSK have maintained their usual IPL domination, Sunrisers Hyderabad have nosedived. The Orange Army has lost three games in a row leading to this encounter. They made four changes to the team in their last match but the result remained against them. On the other hand, Super Kings have put together a streak of four wins. They have faced only one defeat in the first eight matches. Here are three key points from the upcoming match –
Shane Watson’s bad patch
The Australian all-rounder is having a terrible season this year. The situation is so bad that Watson did not even review his LBW decision in the last match. Opening the batting, the 37-year old has scored only 111 runs in eight matches. At an average of 13.87, Watson’s highest score this season is 44.
Watson’s bad patch has also resulted in poor starts for CSK. They have not been able to score quickly in the powerplay and have struggled to begin well. With more than half of the matches completed, it is time for Watson to ‘perform or perish.’
Change or not to change – SRH’s worry
After losing two consecutive matches, Sunrisers Hyderabad decided to change the team complexion. In their last match against Delhi Capitals, SRH made four transfers. Hyderabad side dropped Mohammad Nabi, Yusuf Pathan, Manish Pandey and Siddarth Kaul to include Kane Williamson, Ricky Bhui, Abhishek Sharma and Khaleel Ahmed. They ended up on the losing side.
While Khaleel Ahmed impressed with a three-wicket haul, Bhui and Abhishek had disappointing returns. Bhui was dismissed for 7 runs from 12 balls and Abhishek scored only 2(3). With a formidable opposition like Chennai to confront, SRH will have to be on the top of their team selection. Whether they will persist with the selected players or not remains to be seen.
History is Yellow
In head-to-head IPL contests, Chennai Super Kings emerge as the clear winner. They have defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad six out of eight times. In IPL 2018, CSK and SRH clashed four times including two matches in the playoffs. MS Dhoni and men trumped SRH on every occasion and emerged as the clear winners.
This season, CSK has already taken giant strides in the points table. With seven wins from eight matches, they have established themselves firmly at the top. Sunrisers Hyderabad are struggling after the fantastic start and have lost three matches on the run. In such circumstances, SRH are facing a daunting challenge of overcoming the Yellow team.