Big picture

The last time Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad met, Super Kings were without MS Dhoni, and they lost five wickets for 22 runs, and the game.

Dhoni recovered from back spasms and returned with a bang against Royal Challengers Bangalore, but Super Kings eventually came up short, by just one run. Meanwhile, even as Super Kings have suffered back-to-back losses on the road, Sunrisers have notched up back-to-back victories at home.

Super Kings couldn't have asked for a better time to return home: they have three matches on the trot at Chepauk, where they have won four out of four so far. They have also welcomed back Dwayne Bravo from a hamstring injury, but there are still concerns over his death bowling. Super Kings will be more worried about their top order - both Shane Watson and Suresh Raina are still searching for form ten matches into the season.

Sunrisers, on the other hand, have thrived at the top, with Jonny Bairstow and David Warner peeling off the runs. All told, they both have contributed 71% of the 1349 runs Sunrisers have scored in IPL 2019. Left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed, who has hit hard lengths in the Powerplay and executed the slower offcutters well at the death, has lent another dimension to the already versatile attack. Then, there's Ambati Rayudu v Vijay Shankar Round 2 to look forward to.

In the news

  • Kane Williamson has returned to New Zealand following the death of his grandmother and will not be available for the side's clash against Super Kings on Tuesday. He is likely to rejoin the squad ahead of Sunrisers' next match against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on April 27.
  • Harbhajan Singh was unavailable for Super Kings' last four games - all away from home - because of a stiff neck. If he's fit, he should slot into the XI at Chepauk.
  • This will be Bairstow's last match in IPL 2019 - he has to report for duty back home as England begin their World Cup preparations.
  • There was a light drizzle in Chennai on the eve of the game, and both Super Kings and Sunrisers did not train, having been in action on Sunday.
  • Previous meeting

    The Dhoni-less Super Kings froze with the bat in the end overs in Hyderabad and were then punished by Warner and Bairstow in a defeat that was termed as a "great wake-up call" by coach Fleming.

    Likely XIs

    Chennai Super Kings (possible) 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Shane Watson/Sam Billings, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Kedar Jadhav, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Shardul Thakur/Mohit Sharma

    Sunrisers Hyderabad (possible) 1 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 2 David Warner, 3 Vijay Shankar, 4 Mohammad Nabi, 5 Deepak Hooda/Manish Pandey, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Bhuvneshwar Kumar (capt), 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Shahbaz Nadeem, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 Sandeep Sharma

    Strategy punt

    • Watson has managed just 56 runs in four innings at an average of 14 and strike rate 100 at Chepauk in IPL 2019. There's a case for Super Kings to draft in Sam Billings, who is a good player of spin and can rotate the strike better.
    • Dhoni's go-slow against spinners, particularly against the ones that take the ball away from him, is well-documented. Sunrisers should make sure Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem get a crack at Dhoni. The Super Kings captain has scored just 14 off 22 balls from Rashid (while being dismissed once) and 22 off 23 balls from Nadeem in T20 cricket.
    • Get Khaleel to bowl back of a length to Faf du Plessis. The Super Kings opener has struggled against this length in IPL 2019, barely scoring at a run a ball while getting dismissed three times in 22 balls.

    Stats that matter

    • Watson has been dismissed seven times inside the Powerplay this season. No other batsman has been out more times within the first six overs.
    • Super Kings have a run rate of 6.2 in the Powerplay in IPL 2019 - their lowest in an IPL season.
    • Dhoni needs one six to clock up 200 sixes for Super Kings.
    • Rashid needs three wickets to reach 50 wickets in the IPL.

    Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo