Match 46 of VIVO IPL 2018 will be a contest between the top two sides. Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have parked themselves at the top of the standings, will take on the Chennai Super Kings.
The Sunrisers are the only team so far to secure a playoff berth; they’ve won 9 of their 11 matches, and with 18 points in their kitty they are certain to progress to the next stage of the competition. The Kane Williamson-led side are on a six-match winning streak – their best-ever – and will look to extend it further. In their most recent outing, they chased down 188 against the Delhi Daredevils pretty convincingly. The last match was one of the rare occasions when the Sunrisers bowlers came in for plenty of tap; Rishabh Pant played one of those exceptional innings which leave even the best bowlers with no answers. If the bowling line-up starred in many an early wins, the batsmen have joined the party in these last few days, and that augurs well for SRH.
The Chennai Super Kings meanwhile come off a loss to the Rajasthan Royals; they posted 176-4 despite a not too convincing performance with the bat, but failed to defend it. MS Dhoni’s team were in with a good chance right to the end; they had 38 runs to defend off the last three overs, and 12 to defend off the final over, but the Royals still got home with one ball to spare. CSK have several players in form now – Suresh Raina the latest to make a substantial contribution with the bat. The bowlers could do better on the discipline front though; the CSK skipper admitted after the previous match that the bowlers did not execute as planned and hence conceded plenty of boundaries.
13 May 2018, 1600Hrs (IST)
MCA International Stadium, Pune
CSK are packed with form-batsmen; they have three batsmen in the top ten leading run-getters this season. Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson have batted beautifully and have set the early momentum on several occasions. Suresh Raina has scored runs on almost every visit to the crease, but it was only his previous innings against RR that he looked to be in the free-flowing from of yore. And then, there is MS Dhoni, who is doing the business of finishing better than ever before.
For the Sunrisers, Kane Williamson has led from the front; the Kiwi batsman is the team’s top run-getter. For someone whose name will generally not feature in discussions about the most-impactful batsmen in T20 cricket, Williamson has hit a purple patch and encashed on it; his season aggregate is more than the runs he had scored in the IPL before this season. Shikhar Dhawan, who scored 92 not out in the previous match – his first half-century in nine innings, and Alex Hales are among the other batsmen equipped to bat long and make substantial contributions with the bat.
The prevailing high temperatures and the 4pm start means there will be assistance for the spinners, and hence Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and the change-of-pace specialist Dwayne Bravo will have a huge role to play for CSK.
It will be interesting to see how the Sunrisers bowlers recover from the pounding they received in the previous match. Against the Delhi Daredevils, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddarth Kaul were taken for 12.75 runs per over and 12.00 runs per over respectively. Rashid Khan went wicket-less for the first time in nine matches, and it will be interesting to see how he fares against CSK, whose batsmen have had difficulties against spin.
Team Head to Head
Overall: Matches – 7, Chennai Super Kings won – 5, Sunrisers Hyderabad won – 2
Chennai Super Kings have hit the most sixes in VIVO IPL 2018 – 105, while Sunrisers Hyderabad batsmen have hit the fewest of all teams – 44.
Approaching batting milestones: MS Dhoni needs 47 runs to 4000 IPL runs and Shane Watson needs 11 runs to 3000 IPL runs.
Dwayne Bravo needs 4 more wickets to surpass Ravichandran Ashwin’s tally of 90 wickets and become the Chennai Super Kings’ highest wicket-taker in the IPL.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar needs 5 more wickets to become the first Sunrisers Hyderabad bowler to take 100 IPL wickets.
For Chennai Super Kings: Away fixture Vs. Delhi Daredevils, May 18
For Sunrisers Hyderabad: Away fixture Vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore, May 17.