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As has been their want, the Chennai Super Kings are sitting pretty in the top-two of the table, with eight wins from 10 matches. As they begin their last leg of the league phase with a home game against Royal Challenges Bangalore in Ranchi, CSK face a few personnel changes.
With Dwayne Bravo being sidelined due to shoulder injury, new recruit David Hussey is instantly in the fray for a role in the middle order. And with Brendon McCullum certain to fly back to New Zealand for the birth of his child, there will be another gap to fill.
CSK coach, Stephen Fleming said ahead of the RCB game that they will use this opportunity to experiment a bit with the individual roles in the side.
“David will fit into the middle order,” Fleming said, citing McCullum’s impending departure. “Faf has experience in opening the batting, and our main option is to move Faf up in the order and make David play in the middle order, where he is accustomed to playing.
“We’ve got a couple of games before Brendon flies back home and we’ll juggle the players depending on their fitness – Faf looked a bit ginger in the last game.”
David Hussey had told IPLT20.com that his recent association with CSK came about with a call from Fleming while he was commentating in the tournament. Describing his preference for the junior Hussey, Fleming said, “With the certain opening in the absence of Dwayne and Brendon, we were attracted to David.
“I’ve played some cricket with him and he’s an excellent cricketer. His experience will help. He has played a lot of T20 cricket, so our middle order will not lose any strength with him in it. We found it a little bit empty this year with Mike not being with us, so David is a good replacement.”
With the tournament approaching its business end, there will be a few niggles here and there. And Fleming said that they are analysing some individual performances and experimenting with a few younger guys to prepare for the impending big games.
“We tried to do some new things in the last match; we introduced a young player (Vijay Shankar) in our XI, which is important as you move forward in the tournament. We’ve experimented with different combinations of spin and pace.
“So, we have some good information that is required as we move forward. This time in the season, the plans are almost set; all you do is make some subtle observations and changes in terms of individual performances. A lot of it comes down to ensuring you have the right team for the right pitch. That, I think, is one of the main challenges for all the coaches,” Fleming said.
Expect a fierce contest between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kolkata Knight Riders in Match 43 of Pepsi IPL 2014.
KKR, with 10 points from as many matches, are slightly better off then their opponents who have eight points from 10 matches. Both teams still have a chance to make the Playoffs, and the two points from this match will make that journey slightly easier.
SRH will certainly be the team feeling the heat heading into this contest. They are not only lagging on points, they are also under pressure from losing their last two matches – both in their own backyard where they were expected to do well. KKR, with three consecutive wins behind them, will look to firm up their position in the standings.
Sunday, May 18, 2014, 8 pm IST
Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad
The presence of Naman Ojha at No.3 seems to be working well for SRH. It certainly lifts the pressure off Aaron Finch, Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner, who are the key to the team posting big runs on the board. On the bowling front, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has had a wonderful season. But the scanner will be on Dale Steyn, who was expected to spearhead the attack, and the spin duo of Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma. In the previous match, the trio came in for plenty of stick, conceding 129 runs in 12 overs combined.
KKR, who lost four on trot earlier in the season, appear a rejuvenated side and much of the credit for their recent success goes to their openers. It is good to see the senior pros at the top – Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir – taking the responsibility of not only laying the foundation, but also ensuring that one of them bats well into the latter half of the innings. They will be expected to give the team the foundation yet again so the likes of Ryan ten Doeschate and Suryakumar Yadav can flourish at the end. On the bowling front, KKR have employed a spin-heavy bowling attack with good success and they will be hoping Shakib Al Hasan, Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine can keep the SRH batsmen quiet. Morne Morkel will have an important role to play too – especially against the two left-handers in the SRH line-up.
Notes from previous match
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kings XI Punjab: SRH will be worried that their bowling attack – rated as the best at the start of the season – couldn’t defend 205 in the previous match. The batting came together nicely to post 205 runs on the board, but the bowlers did not build enough pressure. The bowlers conceded too many boundaries early on – the KXIP batsmen picked up 13 fours and three sixes in the first six overs itself. Even in the death overs, the bowlers were guilty of bowling length deliveries; there was not a single yorker or bouncer bowled after the 13th over.
Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians: The highlight of KKR’s victory over MI was the performance of their spinners. In the eight overs bowled by Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine – three of which were bowled in the Powerplay overs – Mumbai Indians could only muster 39 runs. As a unit too, KKR did well in building the pressure; there were as many as 51 dot deliveries in the MI innings. When it was their turn to bat, the openers, Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir, once again provided them a platform with a 50-run partnership. Uthappa steered the run-chase with a career-best 80, confirming the theory that when one of the top three bats up to the final quarter of the innings, the team generally goes on to win.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders have met twice previously and both teams held their respective home games. In the first meeting in Kolkata, SRH posted 180 and restricted the visitors to 132 and won by 48 runs. The second meeting between the teams – in Hyderabad – was a low-scoring encounter. KKR were restricted to 130 for seven, which the hosts chased down in the 19th over to win by five wickets.
Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders are the two teams to have scored less than half their runs through boundaries this season. Only 47.58 percent of KKR’s runs have been realised through boundaries this season, while SRH have fared slightly better, scoring 49.38 percent of their runs through boundaries.
The Kolkata Knight Riders opening pair of Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir has added at least 50 runs in their team’s last four matches. Uthappa and Gambhir are the second-most successful opening pair in Pepsi IPL 2014, after CSK’s Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum; they average 72.40 as a pair.
Both teams will be seen in action next on May 20. Sunrisers Hyderabad play their final home fixture of their season when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore. Kolkata Knight Riders, meanwhile, head to the magnificent Eden Gardens – to host the Chennai Super Kings.