Pune: The great Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be back at the helm of affairs as a struggling Chennai Super Kings take on an Umran Malik-inspired Sunrisers Hyderabad in an Indian Premier League match here Sunday.
The reins of CSK was handed back to the four-time IPL winning captain after Ravindra Jadeja Saturday relinquished the role following the team’s six losses in eight matches in the ongoing edition.
While all eyes will be on Dhoni to change the fate of CSK it will be easier said then done as they face SRH, who have been inspired by the performance of pace sensation Malik, who has outsmarted the top batters of the world with his brutal pace.
His 5/25 show against Gujarat Titans, albeit in a losing cause, is considered one of the best bowling displays in the IPL history.
The right-arm tearaway pacer from Jammu has become talk of the ongoing IPL after clocking over 150 kmph consistently. He has so far picked up 15 wickets from eight matches at a strike rate of 12.00.
But despite his heroics with the ball, SRH eventually fell short by five runs against Gujarat Titans in their last game.
And come Sunday, Malik would look for more support from his pacer colleagues Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Marco Jansen and T Natarajan.
Jansen, in particular, was the culprit as he failed to defend 22 runs off the last over against Gujarat with Rashid Khan going hammer and tongs.
The SRH team management relied heavily on experienced Bhuvneshwar to lead the bowling pack but he could not live up to the side’s expectations and would be desperate to prove his critics wrong.
The form of skipper Kane Williamson has been a cause of concern for SRH but the likes of Abhishek Sharma and Aiden Markram have raised their hands and would look to continue their good show.
SRH would also be looking at Rahul Tripathi and Nicholas Pooran to take up more responsibility with the bat. SRH occupy the fourth spot in the 10-team table with 10 points from eight games.
In contrast, CSK, enduring one of their worst IPL campaigns, need to dish out cohesive efforts to keep themselves afloat in the tournament.
Placed second last in the table with just four points, CSK are hanging by a thread in the competition and in Malik a bigger threat awaits their already- floundering batting unit.
CSK’s problems compounded further when they lost against Punjab Kings by 11 runs in their last game. And any further lapse from here on could spell doom for the defending champions.
CSK have been undone by their failure to click in all departments of the game. Jadeja, who was handed the captaincy ahead of the season, too failed to inspire the team as his own form also suffered under the weight of captaincy.
Jadeja would be itching to get his mojo back with both bat and ball to at least give his side an outside chance of making the play-offs, which at present looks bleak.
CSK’s batting department has been hit hard by the flop show of opener Ruturaj Gaikwad and the youngster, regarded as an India prospect, would look to correct that in the remaining games.
Veteran Robin Uthappa and all-rounder Shivam Dube too need to pull up their socks, while talismanic Dhoni has showed his brilliance in patches, the notable one being the finishing knock against Mumbai Indians.
Ambati Rayudu played a brilliant 39-ball 78-run knock against Punjab the other day, albeit in a losing cause and he would be looking for more support from his top-order batters.
On the bowling front too, there hasn’t been any exceptional performance from CSK with rookie pacer Mukesh Choudhary struggling throughout the season and Dwaine Pretorius too is looking ordinary.
Old war horse Dwayne Bravo has been a reliable servant of the team, picking up wickets and Sri Lankan Maheesh Theekshana has been a valuable addition to the depleted squad in the absence of injured Deepak Chahar and Adam Milne.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (c), Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Nicholos Pooran, Abdul Samad, Priyam Garg, Vishnu Vinod, Glenn Phillips, R Samarth, Shashank Singh, Romario Shepherd, Marco Jansen, J Suchith, Shreyas Gopal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sean Abbott, Kartik Tyagi, Saurabh Tiwary, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Umran Malik and T Natarajan.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni(c), Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Ambati Rayadu, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Santner, Chris Jordan, Adam Milne, Devon Conway, Shivam Dube, Dwaine Pretorius, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Tushar Deshpande, KM Asif, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Subranshu Senapati, K Bhagath Verma, Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh and Mukesh Choudhary.
Match Starts 7:30pm IST.