Chennai: After having won three matches back to back, a confident Chennai Super Kings' batting will be subjected to a tedious task of facing the in-form bowling of Sunrisers Hyderabad when the two teams lock horns for the first time this year in match 34 of IPL 6 on Thursday.
Having won five out of their seven matches played so far, both teams are going strong with 10 points each. However, Hyderabad are behind Chennai on the basis of a slower run-rate. Majorly, due to the lackluster batting performances put in by Hyderabad the entire season. However, the Chennai batsmen have been in top form and this gives them the edge heading into Thursday's game at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Hyderabad are riding high on their bowling department. An attack spearheaded by the world's No. 1 bowler Dale Steyn and bolstered by Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Thisara Perera has contributed hugely to the team's success in IPL 6. Mishra in particular, has rediscovered his lost form after taking a hat-trick against Pune Warriors India.
Chennai have been reliant on their batsmen and Hyderabad on their bowlers, which makes Thursday's match a mouth-watering prospect.
Their batting however remains a matter of concern. Being the quality batsman that he is, Kumar Sangakkara's outing with the bat has been way below par whereas Australian allrounder Cameron White has delivered in bits and pieces. Sri Lankan allrounder Perera too has been inconsistent. Sangakkara has not played the last two matches and will sit out this game in Chennai due to the ban on Sri Lankans in the state of Tamil Nadu, which leaves Hyderabad hoping for more from White, Perera and Quinton de Kock. The team's domestic talent also needs to be counted.
While Hyderabad will play after a gap of almost a week, Chennai have been playing matches quite frequently and must be a tad concerned over fatigue creeping in. Their batting has been marvelous this season and chasing down a formidable 186 against Rajasthan Royals has been a true testament of that.
Michael Hussy in particular is experiencing a purple patch as he has amassed 305 runs and is third in the leading run-getters' list. Suresh Raina shrugged off a lean run with a brisk 51 in the last match, while skipper MS Dhoni has been his usual aggressive self. S Badrinath has also been consistent, leaving just opener Murali Vijay as the lone batsmen not to do anything of note in IPL 6.
Chennai's million-dollar baby Ravindra Jadeja would like to make amends after being dismissed for a duck in the last game against Rajasthan. Jadeja was CSK's architect of victory in the games against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. Chennai's bowling however hasn't been much of a talking point with the exception of R Ashwin who has proved to be useful for the team. CSK will hope Dirk Nannes is fit again.
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Michael Hussey, 2 Srikkanth Anirudha/Murali Vijay, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Badrinath, 6 MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Albie Morkel, 9 Chris Morris, 10 R Ashwin, 11 Mohit Sharma
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Akshath Reddy, 3 Cameron White (capt), 4 Dwarka Ravi Teja, 5 Hanuma Vihari, 6 Thisara Perera, 7 Ashish Reddy, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Karan Sharma, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Ishant Sharma