The panic button has not yet been pressed, but for both Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, that point may not be far away.
Super Kings have had a 0-3 start to IPL 2022, with key personnel from IPL 2021 not yet firing, missing the dominant top-order runs. Faf du Plessis is gone. Ruturaj Gaikwad
has been out to Kagiso Rabada and Umesh Yadav, and run-out once, for single-digit scores. But he did start IPL 2021 in similar fashion and ended up with the Orange Cap. So he could realistically still finish with a lot of runs. Moeen Ali
is yet to make a mark. And Ravindra Jadeja
is only still finding his feet as everything rolled into one. The bright side is that MS Dhoni
and Shivam Dube
have found some form with the bat.
Bowling-wise, Deepak Chahar is being dearly missed at the top, with the inexperienced Indian pacers not penetrative enough so far. But Dwayne Bravo
continues to take key wickets. The overseas seamers - Dwaine Pretorius
and Chris Jordan
- have enjoyed some success, and it might just be a matter of a few more runs from the top order for them.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, meanwhile, are one loss away from slipping to 0-3, too, and might just have bigger problems than their opponents. Openers Abhishek Sharma
and Kane Williamson
have the poorest combined strike rate (76) among all teams, and have not survived the powerplay yet. That's just the beginning of a line-up where many players are batting out of position.
, most successful in the IPL as opener, comes at No. 3, and Aiden Markram
, with a T20 average of 57 from No. 3, comes in lower. Williamson, the opener, himself might be batting too high, as his best IPL numbers are from No. 4. They might want to shuffle that batting order before the season goes away from them.
The Sunrisers bowling has struggled after Bhuvneshwar Kumar
's powerplay stints too. Their economy rates for overs seven to 15 (9.6) and 16 to 20 (11.7) are among the poorest of all the teams, with Umran Malik
, Washington Sundar
and Romario Shepherd
all proving expensive. T Natarajan
, though, is back to talking death-overs wickets, with four in two games. Washington as the lone frontline spinner has not brought much success, and with Rashid Khan now gone, maybe Shreyas Gopal
could be a useful addition to their XI because Super Kings have struggled most against right-arm legbreak this season, losing eight wickets and scoring at an average of 12.6 runs per wicket, with the bowlers conceding runs at 6.7.
Super Kings usually don't make major changes to their XI, with the lone call probably being who the Indian quick will be. Sunrisers, though, could tweak their XI - with Shreyas the frontrunner to make the team, and Marco Jansen, Kartik Tyagi and Priyam Garg among other options.
Chennai Super Kings (possible): 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Robin Uthappa, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Ravindra Jadeja (capt), 6 Shivam Dube, 7 MS Dhoni (wk), 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Dwaine Pretorius, 10 Chris Jordan, 11 Tushar Deshpande
Sunrisers Hyderabad (possible): 1 Rahul Tripathi, 2 Abhishek Sharma, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 6 Washington Sundar, 7 Abdul Samad, 8 Romario Shepherd, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Shreyas Gopal, 11 T Natarajan Super Kings' game against Lucknow Super Giants showed that offspin continues to be a problem for left-hand batters - Washington dismissed both Quinton de Kock and Evin Lewis. Super Kings have three left-handers in their top six, so Washington could be more useful as a pure match-up bowler and not specifically as a powerplay bowler. Jadeja should avoid bowling to Nicholas Pooran. Even though Pooran has not been consistent in the IPL, he did post 34 (his highest score since IPL 2021) against Super Giants. Left-arm orthodox spin is his favourite in the IPL - he averages 70 against them at a strike rate of 212.
It will be Jadeja's 150th T20 match for Super Kings. Only Suresh Raina (200) and Dhoni (217*) have played more for the franchise. Dhoni's favourite team as a batter in the IPL is Sunrisers. He has a strike rate of 195 (his best among all teams) in the slog overs against them and has bludgeoned Bhuvneshwar for 97 runs in 49 balls with zero dismissals. Maybe Bhuvneshwar should bowl an extra powerplay over where his economy has been 4.80 in IPL 2022. Since IPL 2019, Williamson has struggled against Super Kings, averaging 26.50 in five innings, his second-poorest numbers among all IPL teams in that period.