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Second-placed Chennai Super Kings take on third-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad in match 34 of Pepsi IPL 2013.
CSK are on a roll having won their last three matches and have a great opportunity to go atop of the table if they win this contest by a significant margin. However, the two-time champions have been far from convincing, with three of their five wins coming in the last over. They will also be aware of the fact that they have lost two of their four home fixtures and cannot afford to concede any more points at home.
Sunrisers Hyderabad had registered wins against the Pune Warriors India and Kings XI Punjab before their five-day break. Though they have won five of their seven matches so far, their net run rate took a severe beating after their 48-run defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders. Apart from regaining the momentum, SRH will also be keen to improve on the net run rate which could come into the equation in deciding which teams progress to the Play-Offs.
Thursday, April 25, 2013, 8 p.m
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
Though the Chennai Super Kings are blessed with several match-winners in their line-up, the one individual who influences their fortunes like no other is their opening batsman Michael Hussey. The Australian averages an incredible 60 in the 25 CSK wins he has been part of; his batting average plummets to an incredible 19 when CSK have ended on the losing side. Not only does the 37-year old lend stability at the top of the order, he can bat through the entire innings and force the pace towards the end. Hussey batting through the innings allows the stroke-makers – Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni – to play shots without any pressure.
The Sunrisers meanwhile will be buoyed by the return of Shikhar Dhawan. The 27-year old has been out of action since making a scintillating debut in the Mohali Test against Australia. Not only did he score 187 runs, he demolished the Australian bowling attack and raced to the fastest ever (recorded) debut hundred in Test history. His addition to the SRH line-up should reduce the burden of Cameron White.
On the bowling front, the spinners will undoubtedly rule the roost; the four over spells of Amit Mishra, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja could have a significant influence on the match.
The Chennai Super Kings will be squaring off with the Hyderabad franchise for the first time in their avatar as Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Prior to this, CSK had met the erstwhile Hyderabad franchise – Deccan Chargers – on ten occasions and had emerged victors in six of them. Trivia
Sunrisers Hyderabad have the lowest boundary percentage of the nine teams competing this season; only 41.76% of the runs they’ve scored so far this season has been through hits to or over the boundaries.
Shikhar Dhawan has outstanding numbers as opener in IPL; in 38 innings as opener he has scored 1133 runs at an average of 31.47, including nine half-centuries.
CSK will next be seen in action against the defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders who visit them on April 28. Sunrisers Hyderabad meanwhile head to Jaipur after this match to take on the Rajasthan Royals on April 27.
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling attack has been one of the success stories of IPL 2013. Powered by Dale Steyn and revved on byAmit Mishra, they have helped the team win five of their first seven matches. Batting, however, has been found wanting, with a solitary 150-plus score to show.
As they gear up for a tough away game, against the Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers have to lift their batting bar to a significant extent. The timing, hence, is perfect for Shikhar Dhawan to enter.
The Delhi batsman who scored a mindboggling 187 on Test debut against Australia, has recovered from his hand injury and will take the field against CSK at the Chepauk, confirmed SRH team mentor, Krishnamachari Srikkanth.
“The good news is that Shikhar Dhawan is back into action and he will be playing his first game of this season tomorrow,” Srikkanth said. “That should be a great boost to our batting. We have been a bit behind in our batting but with Dhawan in, we will be reasonably well sorted out.”
While admitting the team’s batting woes, the former India captain reasoned it with the fact that the side is packed with young Indian domestic players. Naming a few fringe players who have delivered for SRH so far, Srikkanth said the franchise’s aim is to promote young blood.
“We have to understand that it is a team that consists of a lot of youngsters and new faces. In the (2013 IPL Player) auction our mindset was to pick the team for the future and promote the youngsters. It has worked so far.
“Look at Hanuma Vihari, an unknown candidate who has already won two man-of-the-match awards. We also have the likes of Ashish Reddy who comes and wins matches in the end, and Akshath Reddy who has done well in a couple of games as well.”
A flamboyant opening batsman in his own time, Srikkanth was particularly open in his admiration for the 20-year-old South African opener, Quinton de Kock. In the team replacing Kumar Sangakkara, the wicketkeeper-batsman scored 2 and 0 in the two matched he’s played so far. But the team mentor made it clear that the management will give him enough chances to fail.
“He will continue to play,” Srikkanth said. “de Kock is a 20-year-old boy who had a brilliant season in South Africa. You’ve got to give him enough time. He’s played just two games and in the last game he got a ball that literally rolled over on the ground. To say that he hasn’t performed well after just two games is very unfair. I think Quinton de Kock is a swashbuckling opening batsman and we know he will come good.”
While the batting as a unit hasn’t clicked so far, it is not a big cause of concern for Srikkanth as long as the team is winning. “As of now we’re very happy with what has happened. We may not have got big runs but we have won five matches. At the end of the day it’s the number of matches that you’re winning is what matters,” he said.
For Srikkanth, the most significant factor in SRH’s fine form and as a team is their never-give-up attitude. He recalled the team’s 11-run win over the Pune Warriors India, defending a low 119.
“The biggest positive for us is the knowledge that we can successfully defend even a small total of 119. That fighting spirit in the team is the biggest plus. We haven’t given away a single match for lack of fight. We don’t give up.”