CSK vs SRH: Can Chennai return to winning ways?

Tags: Indian Premier League 2014, Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad

Published on: May 22, 2014

The clash between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday will be the 50th IPL match of the ongoing season.

The clash between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday will be the 50th IPL match of the ongoing season. It is that time of the tournament where we begin getting a fair idea of who is going to progress and who is not. Chennai and Hyderabad find themselves in completely contrasting situations. While MS Dhoni’s men have already progressed through to the play offs, they have lost three of their last five games, which would worry the franchise for sure. Hyderabad, meanwhile, have to win both their remaining matches, and they still may not progress since there are many teams vying for the third and fourth spots.

One of the reasons why Chennai have faltered in the recent games is because they have wavered from their all-round strengths as a unit. Their batting hasn’t been as dynamic, the bowling has also subsequently lost some edge, and surprisingly their otherwise brilliant fielding has also not been up to the mark, with catches being dropped. Against Bangalore, they were kept down to 138 and versus Kolkata they managed only slightly better with 154. The bowlers just did not have enough runs to bowl at, and succumbed.

The fact that Chennai’s losses in the last two games coincided with Dwayne Smith’s failures proves how crucial he has been to the team’s cause this season. When Smith has fired at the top, Chennai have invariably won. While Chennai would be keen to see Smith get back among the runs, it is also important that they formulate a winning strategy so that they don’t struggle when Smith fails, as has been the case in recent times. Suresh Raina has hit form with fifties in the last two games, but his strike rate needs to be better than in 120s.

In spite of their recent reverses, Chennai would be disappointed if they do not put it across Hyderabad on Thursday. The latter hasn’t been consistent in the series in spite of having some talented players. But, the win against Bangalore would have given them the confidence to continue the fight. Having relinquished his captaincy, Shikhar Dhawan finally came into his own with a belligerent half-century against Bangalore. The move to shift David Warner also worked. The left- hander has succeeded in the middle-order, but he is undoubtedly more dangerous at the top, and Sunrisers must keep him there.

With the ball, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been exceptional. He may not have the pace of Dale Steyn, who has lacked consistency this season, but has delivered in almost every game. Kumar has been successful in moving the ball around, and has maintained a wonderful line and length. Apart from picking up wickets, Kumar has also ensured that he has kept the runs down. He will need better support from the rest though. The likes of Irfan Pathan and Darren Sammy are definite weak links in the attack. To overcome Chennai, Sunrisers will have to overwhelm their own deficiencies.

--By A Cricket Analyst

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