Date and time: Oct 2, Friday; 19:30 IST
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2020 preview
You have to go all the way back to IPL 2012 for the last time Chennai Super Kings lost two of their first three matches. That season, they sneaked into the playoffs with a fourth-place finish and went on to play their fourth final. The background is worth recollecting because CSK have traditionally been strong starters and that has played a role in their reaching the IPL playoffs every season.
These are still early days in IPL 2020 and Chennai may yet overcome the strange start to the season, but injuries, form and player withdrawals could pose a significant challenge in their bid to reach the playoffs.
Captain MS Dhoni couldn’t have described CSK’s indifferent batting displays in the run-chases against Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals any better: “We are lacking a bit of steam in batting and that hurts. The run-rate keeps on mounting after such slow starts and adds pressure. We need to figure that out.”
On CSK’s bowling, he said: “We need to get better with our lengths, lines and pace. I think the spinners have not come to the party yet. We are bowling good deliveries but we are giving away the boundary deliveries a bit too often.”
Those are Chennai’s key issues as they look to bounce back from consecutive defeats in Friday’s fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The IPL 2016 champions were bolstered by the return of fit-again Kane Williamson in their victory over Delhi Capitals on Tuesday, arresting a two-match losing run. Bringing Williamson in place of Mohammad Nabi suggests, too, they have identified their best playing combination after muddled team selections in their first two fixtures.
On the Williamson-Nabi swap, captain David Warner said: “It was a big call but, at the end of the day, if we get our top four batting right and back our bowlers, we will come good. For us, it is important to establish in the middle. Moving forward, Nabi will come in as well.”
Against a strong Capitals batting line-up, Sunrisers’ bowling came good, too, to successfully defend 162 in a display reminiscent of their IPL 2018 campaign. Bhuvneshwar Kumar picking his first wickets of IPL 2020 and Rashid Khan’s match-winning spell augur well for Sunrisers.
CSK vs SRH head to head in IPL
Chennai Super Kings lead Sunrisers Hyderabad by 10-3 in the head to head record.
The teams shared the spoils last season, winning their respective away fixtures.
Dubai pitch report and conditions
In the last three matches played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, the average score batting first has been 183 and the average score batting second being 156.
On the face of it, those average scores might suggest the pitch becomes progressively difficult for batting. However, it’s worth remembering Mumbai Indians almost successfully chased down 202 against Royal Challengers Bangalore with a late assault from Ishan Kishan and Kieron Pollard.
The Dubai pitch has provided an even contest between bat and ball, much like Abu Dhabi, with seam bowlers extracting movement and spinners getting appreciable turn, while the batsmen have been able to play their shots because of even pace and bounce on offer.
For the match between CSK and Sunrisers, the pitch could aid spinners more having had 40 overs of cricket played on it on Wednesday.
Dubai weather forecast
A maximum of 36-degree Celsius is forecast on Friday, with the temperature dropping to 27-degree Celsius in the evening.
The humidity, at 72 per cent, will make the conditions challenging for the players.
IPL 2020: CSK vs SRH playing 11
Ambati Rayudu, who missed Chennai Super Kings’s last two fixtures with a hamstring injury, is likely to return to the playing 11. Dwayne Bravo has been training with the squad and could feature against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Probable CSK playing 11: 1 MS Dhoni (c and wk), 2 Shane Watson, 3 Murali Vijay, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Sam Curran/Dwayne Bravo, 10 Piyush Chawla, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Sunrisers are likely to retain the winning combination.
Probable SRH playing 11: 1 David Warner (c), 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Abdul Samad, 6 Abhishek Sharma, 7 Priyam Garg, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 Thangarasu Natarajan
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s fragile middle order puts the onus on the top four of David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, and Kane Williamson to do the bulk of the scoring. Therefore, Chennai Super Kings have the opportunity to exert control with early wickets. On the flip side, if Sunrisers’s top order gets through the new ball, they can put pressure on CSK’s spin twins—Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja—who have hemorrhaged runs in the last two fixtures.