Chennai test awaits Sunrisers bowlers
Match factsThursday, April 25, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Big PictureHow did they do it? Sunrisers Hyderabad were at best predicted to be spirited also-rans, but despite their supposed weaknesses, they are near the top end of the table. Their run until now has been as unexpected as Delhi Daredevils' rut and the surprise is visible in Dale Steyn's smirk every time he is interviewed after a tight win. In Chennai, where they will be without their in-form allrounder - Thisara Perera, against a home team that has enough ammunition in their batting to raze their bowling attack, Sunrisers' pluck is going to get seriously tested.
Sunrisers' balance is going to take a hit in the absence of Perera who has been their top run-scorer and has picked up nine wickets. With Steyn, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra, they still have bite in their bowling, but it's their batting which continues to be a headache. They left out Kumar Sangakkara in the last two matches to allow Quinton de Kock time to settle in preparation for this match, but that move has had zero results. With Perera missing, they are in serious need of some good news on the batting front. One came yesterday - Shikhar Dhawan took part in training on Tuesday evening and could feature in Chennai.
Chennai Super Kings have no such issues. After a scratchy start to the tournament, they have had three wins a row. Their bowling strangled the opposition in two of those games and their batting rose to the occasion in the third. Suresh Raina, who had a quiet start to the tournament, also showed signs of returning to form with a half-century in the last match. Faf du Plessis is also available for selection. No question then who starts this match as a favourite. However, Sunrisers can take encouragement from the fact that Pune Warriors sneaked out a win in Chennai too.
Form guideChennai Super Kings WWWLW (most recent first)
Sunrisers Hyderabad WWLWL
Players to watchWhile Amit Mishra has been hogging the limelight, Sunrisers' other legspinner Karan Sharma has quietly cemented his place in the side. In the three matches he has played, he has picked up four wickets and has been miserly with an economy of 5.62. It is because of support acts like Karan that Sunrisers haven't had any loose ends in their bowling. In the absence of Perera, Karan would be expected to step up against Super Kings' big-hitting left-handers.
Michael Hussey is in the middle of a productive run and his last five innings read - 88, 40 65*, 6, 86*. The solidity he has provided at the top of the order has helped in laying the platform for the power hitters, who could be susceptible in situations that need them to graft. If he can keep Steyn and Co at bay early, a big chunk of Super Kings' job would be considered done.
Stats and trivia
- Super Kings have scored less than 130 just once this season. Sunrisers, on the other hand, have crossed 130 two times in seven attempts.
- Only four Sunrisers batsmen have a strike-rate of more than 100 this season - Mishra, Perera, Steyn and Ashish Reddy.
Quotes"The batsman is already struggling against Steyn and then he has to face a ball delivered by Ishant from eight feet high."
Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling coach Waqar Younis
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo