IPL 2021: Chennai Super Kings look to seal spot in top two
Sunrisers Hyderabad will take on Chennai Super Kings at 6pm UAE Time on Thursday
Sunrisers Hyderabad broke the sequence of defeats by beating the error-prone Rajasthan Royals a couple of days back. Jason Roy, making his debut after waiting in the wings for long, smashed a half-century, and another one, polished and classy, by skipper Kane Williamson, took the beleaguered franchise to only their second victory this season.
This suggests some kind of revival for a team that has been languishing at the bottom of the points table almost from the start of the season.
The team have also been enveloped in irksome, somewhat controversial events, including the one involving David Warner who lost his captaincy in the first phase and his place in the second phase.
The Australian has been the highest run-getter for SRH, their champion batsman.
The Warner issue, whether he will remain with SRH or not next season, is being widely speculated. It remains to be seen what impact this will have on the team’s performances in the remaining matches.
Against RR, SRH looked like they were getting their act together. Roy did what Warner failed to do all season – put bowlers to the sword and give the team a good start.
This in turn allowed Williamson, overburdened because of the failures of top-order batsmen as well as keeping a losing team together, the opportunity to showcase his undoubted batting ability.
With premier bowlers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (after a long while) and Rashid Khan performing to expectation, SRH for the first time this season looked competitive. But can this form be sustained, or was this a one-off?
Their opponents tonight are top of table Chennai Super Kings, and MS Dhoni, while not in great batting form, has been ruthless as captain, leaving no vulnerability unexploited.
The unpredictability of T20 cricket notwithstanding, it will take something special from SRH to beat CSK who have looked in excellent form right through the season.
Ruturaj Gaikwad has caught the eye with his stylish and authoritative batting, forging a fine opening partnership with Faf du Plessis, the veteran South African batsman.
Moeen Ali and Suresh Raina, without quite making big scores, have looked in good nick, while Ravindra Jadeja has shored up the batting with brilliant cameos.
CSK’s bowling too has been top class. There is variety, depth of experience and wicket-taking ability. The only worry for them is the fitness of Dwayne Bravo, who has been the pick of the attack.
A win would take CSK to 18 points and put them among the top two teams in the playoffs, giving them two chances to reach the final.
Dhoni will crack the whip for a redoubled effort from his team to be in that position.
Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator
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