HYDERABAD: If this were any other season, this could have been expected to be a mouth-watering clash, one that would see two well-balanced sides take on each other. But the way things have gone for Sunrisers Hyderabad in this IPL, they will be quite wary when they go up against table-toppers Chennai Super Kings. While their bowling arsenal — that was out-of-sorts in the first few matches — is getting turning back to its old ways, their batting unit seems to be dependent upon David Warner and Jonny Bairstow.
MS Dhoni’s battle-hardened veterans, on the hand, have been ruthless, stealing one win after the other from under the nose of their opponents.
The Orange Army’s last match can be taken as a case study for how not to fail while chasing a modest target (156, in this case). Placed comfortably at 71/0, they were bundled out for 116, and crashed to their third consecutive defeat.
Sample this. Warner and Bairstow have scored 66 per cent of their team’s runs. Meanwhile, Nos 4 to 11 are currently averaging 12.75.
Asked how the team plans to deal with the situation in the upcoming encounter here on Wednesday, head coach Tom Moody implied that there could be another shuffling of their playing XI.
“It is all about selecting the right players according to the opponents. CSK are a very experienced side. The balance in our side will be different from the last game. So, there will automatically be changes in the playing XI.”
Their big shuffle in the last match had backfired, with all the three new batsmen — Kane Williamson (3), Ricky Bhui (7) and Abhishek Sharma (2) — failing miserably. There is a big chance that they might revert to the more experienced — albeit yet to deliver — middle-order bats such as Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan, considering they will be facing the best bowling side.
Chennai have excelled in the powerplay with an economy of 7.1, and are the best in the middle (6.5) and death overs (8.3). The trio of Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and medium-pacer Deepak Chahar has been in sublime form. The latter, in particular, has been delivering wickets for the Men in Yellow up front, while Tahir has been using his guiles to derail teams during the middle overs.
Death bowling has been a talking point in this IPL, with a lot of revered end-over bowlers getting smashed for a lot of runs. Asked whether it is a concern in the team, bowling consultant Eric Simmons replied, “Death bowling has been in focus for any side, certainly ours. It is a very tough job. One has to understand what the bowlers go through. We have bowled to the field, which is important.”
A record of eight losses in 10 games against the Men in Yellow is certainly not going to raise spirits. But Hyderabad can certainly look at it to get fired up when they hit the field on Wednesday night.