Thursday, May 22, 2014
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
When Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad meet in Ranchi on Thursday evening, they will have very different goals on their minds. Sunrisers need to win both their remaining games to have any chance of making it to the playoffs, and even then their chances are dependent on other results - they are near the bottom of the pile of the group of five hopefuls for the third and fourth spots.
Super Kings, on the other hand, are already through to the playoffs but have a slightly different itch. With three losses in their last five games (after six straight wins), they seem to have gone off the boil. Their batsmen haven't put up enough runs, their bowlers have appeared toothless and they have dropped catches in the field. Basically, they haven't been their formidable self. Therein lies an opportunity for Sunrisers to exploit. Their bowling attack is one of the better ones in the league and their batting is finally coming together. Can they keep Super Kings down and take the fight to their last match in Kolkata?
Chennai Super Kings: LLWWL (completed games, most recent first)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: WLLLW
Where they stand
Chennai Super Kings: Second, with 16 points from 12 games
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Seventh, with 10 points from 12 games
Super Kings weren't tested enough when they met Sunsrisers in Sharjah last month. Given a middling target of 146 to chase, Super Kings' openers more or less sealed the contest with a rapid 85-run stand.
Watch out for
Bhuvneshwar Kumar's report card this IPL season has been top-notch. A+ for the number of wickets (he is the leading wicket-taker with 20 dismissals), A+ for his economy rate of 6.32, A+ for the kind of batsmen he has dismissed - Dwayne Smith, Virat Kohli, David Miller, JP Duminy, Ajinkya Rahne, etc, A+ for generating swing with the new ball and A+ for his death bowling. On top of that, he is an electric car compared to Dale Steyn's V-12 - he does the job silently and efficiently. This season, he has been one of the constants in an inconsistent team.
The scorecard from the previous match doesn't tell the story of the Ranchi pitch. It afforded generous turn to the spinners right from the start and the batsmen struggled. A pitch like that takes the early sting out of Super Kings' batting and it would be interesting if a similar surface is laid out.
Stats and trivia
- MS Dhoni's strike rate of 148.66 is the best among the top five Super Kings batsmen. However, he has faced the fewest balls. He has been not out seven times in 12 innings.
- Mohit Sharma is two wickets behind Bhuvneshwar in the list of leading wicket-takers this season. He has not taken a wicket in his last two matches
- More than 48% of Naman Ojha's runs have come in sixes, which is the best ratio among the top ten six-hitters in the competition. Yuvraj Singh is second on the list with 47% of his runs in sixes
"David Warner has been in great form in the middle order and we just wanted to try a different opening combination. The change worked and our partnership set the perfect tempo for the rest of the game."
Shikhar Dhawan on Sunrisers' successful batting-order reshuffle in their previous game
"Well, we didn't field well. We dropped a few catches, but that happens in cricket. But at the same time, we need to play really well in the next two games."
Suresh Raina on Super Kings's two losses
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo