It might be the battle between the top two teams of Indian Premier League 2018, but Qualifier 1 from Mumbai has a weird little twist. Both Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings are playing far from how title contenders should.
Sunrisers, who finished at the top of the table, with a slight advantage in Net Run Rate over Chennai Super Kings, have lost three games in a row. The only other time they had such a string of losses in a season was when they lost four on the trot in 2014. Back then, they finished outside the top four. What’s worse for Kane Williamson’s team is that they’re up against an opponent that has defeated them twice already this IPL.
Things do not look rosy for Chennai Super Kings either. Since April 25, the team in yellow has blown hot and cold, following each win with a defeat. If the trend were to continue, it would mean there is a loss shadowing their win over Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.
However, both teams will know that the playoff game at the Wankhede is a different beast altogether. Having secured their progress a while ago, the teams will now be confronted with a high-pressure situation. Form has deserted SRH, while CSK need to get rid of a strange habit that has been stuck to them for nearly a month. It could just result in both teams going all out and giving the fans a game to die for. It could also mean a game of who blinks first.
When: Qualifier 1 – May 22nd,
Where: Wankhede, Mumbai
What to expect: Four of the last five games at the Wankhede saw scores on the higher side, and another high scoring game is on the cards. Weather wise, a clear, humid evening expected.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: The bowling attack that had constantly been at the top of its game has come undone for Hyderabad recently, but expect them to stick to what’s worked for them in the first half. Carlos Brathwaite didn’t quite impress in the last game for SRH, but with Shreevats Goswami clicking at the top SRH might just be tempted to give the West Indian another go in the side.
Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite/Alex Hales, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma
Chennai Super Kings: CSK will be keen on bringing back Shane Watson in the side, giving the team a more reliable option, than Faf du Plessis, at the top while also getting themselves a bowler who can operate in crunch situations. The batting order, something that was shuffled without warning in the last game with Deepak Chahar and Harbhajan Singh batting ahead of Dhoni, Jadeja and Bravo, should be reset to its original version too.
Probable XI: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Sam Billings/Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi
Head to Head of teams
SRH 2 – 6 CSK
Team Record in Playoffs
SRH 3 W – 2 L
CSK 10 W – 7 L
Rayudu vs SRH: Nine innings; 385 runs; Avg 55.00; SR 134.58;
Against no other side (minimum one innings), he has a better average or SR. He has been MoM in both games in the league phase against SRH.
Dhoni vs Bhuvneshwar: Dhoni has scored 87 runs off Bhuvneshwar from just 47 balls at a SR of 185.10 – the most scored off SRH’s lead bowler by a player without getting dismissed.
IPL 2018 trends
CSK are the best batting side in the tournament with the highest average of 37.13 per wicket combined with a scoring rate of 9.03.
SRH are the best bowling side of the tournament in terms of ER (8.19) and second best in terms of average runs per wicket (25.50).
CSK have hit the most sixes this IPL (130) while SRH have hit the fewest (68).
Out of the four hundreds scored in this IPL, three have been against SRH.
2015 Kashmir Despatch