Sunrisers Hyderabad have already booked their place in the playoffs, while Chennai Super Kings still have to win one game out of three, as both the teams face each other in a league match on Sunday.
Cricket news: SRH eyes to strengthen their lead, while CSK desperate to book playoff spot
CSK were banned for two years due to a betting scam. After returning to the Indian Premier League in this year, they had got a good start by winning five out of their first six games before they lost to Mumbai Indians.
CSK now has 14 points from 11 games and still need two points to qualify for the playoffs. They would have already done that, but they lost in the previous match against Rajasthan Royals, who are also returning after a two-year ban.
CSK lost to Rajasthan by four wickets and if they again lose to the table toppers Hyderabad, it would hand a serious blow to their chances.
Captain cool MS Dhoni lost all his calm and blamed his bowlers in post-match presentation for failing to defend a total of 176 against Rajasthan.
“We were supposed to bowl one particular length. The bowlers were instructed what to bowl: back of a length. They could not execute. We were hit for a lot of boundaries off full balls. 176 was a par-plus score, the bowlers let us down,” said Dhoni after losing to Rajasthan in Jaipur.
The reliable Harbhajan Singh went for 29 runs for one wicket in two overs and was later not called to finish his remaining quota.
CSK’s batting has been terrific with the likes of Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, skipper Dhoni and West Indian Dwayne, all getting valuable runs. But they need to be backed up by the bowlers.
Hyderabad, who have 18 points, would like to win more and cement their position as the toppers of the league ensuring their top-two finish.
The batsmen of SRH are having a gala time with opener Shikhar Dhawan (290 runs) getting runs in the previous match against Delhi Daredevils and skipper Kane Williamson (493 runs) has been in prime form throughout the tournament.
Other batsmen like Yusuf Pathan (186 runs), Manish Pandey (184) and Shakib-Al-Hasan (158) have also contributed whenever needed.
But their main weapon is their bowling, which has impressed the whole tournament except the last match where Rishabh Pant took them on with a whirlwind unbeaten 128, albeit for a lost cause.
They have successfully defended many low totals and need to be in good form against CSK. Their main bowler Bhuvneshwar has been well supported by Siddharth Kaul (13 wickets), Sandeep Sharma, leg spinner Rashid Khan (13) and Shakib-Al-Hasan (12).
Venue – Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
CSK Predicted XI: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Sam Billings, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi
SRH Predicted XI: Alex Hales, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma