After a dream-start to their 2018 IPL campaign with three-consecutive victories, Sunrisers Hyderabad were no match for Kings XI Punjab & Chris Gayle on a night to remember as they recorded their first loss of the tournament. Could that one defeat derail their entire season? They’ll be hoping to bounce back against the Chennai Super Kings who have just recently claimed top spot on the standings, although that’s likely to change after tonight’s results.
It’s always a special moment to see any batsman score a century in the IPL, in Hyderabad’s case it’s just a matter of moving on and accepting the outcome after Chris Gayle’s unbeaten 104 proved to be too much for a desperate-Sunrisers outfit. Hyderabad was unlucky to lose Shikhar Dhawan early in their innings after being struck on the elbow by a nasty-short pitched delivery facing his first ball. That resulted in Dhawan retiring hurt, leaving the task at hand up to Sunrisers skipper Kane Williamson who scored his second-consecutive fifty in IPL 11 and Manish Pandey who also surpassed a half century as he picked the gaps consistently to keep them in the game. Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan finished the innings off strongly in one final attempt to pull off a miraculous run chase, but it was not to be. Dhawan’s absence was telling throughout the innings, he’s been finding the boundary regularly in the eleventh edition of the IPL and was sorely-missed. Another questionable move was the decision to bring in English quick Chris Jordan in place of Billy Stanlake, it can’t be classed as a successful one given Jordan went wicketless & Stanlake had picked up four wickets in his last two matches. Even talented-young leggy Rashid Khan has experienced some tough times of late, he’s been punished in his last two games with just one wicket to show for it. The biggest challenge Hyderabad face would have to be the team consistency, Kane Williamson is averaging 48.66 at No. 3, but if he happens to fail cheaply they may well struggle to compete for the rest of the innings. English opener Alex Hales should have been in this team from game one, they need an overseas T20 specialist batsman to spark the innings with some quick scoring, unfortunately the current-team structure can’t fit Hales in.
Unlike Hyderabad, the Chennai Super Kings know exactly what they’re looking to achieve from a line-up perspective, playing their best players in almost every match unless injured. Injuries have probably aided the Super Kings in a way, the loss of Kedar Jadhav has allowed Ambati Rayudu to step up in the top order where he’s averaging an acceptable 30, I guess that’s one way of looking at it anyway. Thankfully Suresh Raina recovered-quickly from an injury he sustained earlier in the tournament, scoring a vibrant 46 runs in his return to the side against the Rajasthan Royals less than 24 hours ago. The absence of South African batting pro Faf du Plessis however has been a huge loss to this Super Kings side, Faf is the type of batsman who digs in deep for the team and gets the job done more often than not making him an integral part of their batting structure. Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson unleashed an all-out slog-fest against Rajasthan just recently, notching up his fourth career T20 century as his 106 run-onslaught inspired a Chennai victory that night. Almost everyone has played their part in this team, that’s a good way to summarise the Super Kings success in IPL 11 so far. A handful of teams in this year’s competition don’t appear to have very-reliable bowling attacks, that’s where I believe the Super Kings are one step ahead of their opposition in 2018. Both Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo are contributing wickets with the ball, but the pair also have huge upside with the bat making the team more flexible. The inclusion of leg-spinner Karn Sharma against the Royals was the right decision for mine, Bhaji just wasn’t looking threatening which warranted Sharma’s selection in the XI as a more attacking wicket-taking option. MS Dhoni has once again led this team superbly, are they a serious contender for the 2018 IPL title?
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sunrisers Hyderabad | 20th match | Hyderabad
- Kane Williamson
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Siddarth Kaul
- Manish Pandey
Wildcard pick – Chris Jordan
Top 5 fantasy picks | Chennai Super Kings | 20th match | Hyderabad
- Shane Watson
- Suresh Raina
- Shardul Thakur
- Karn Sharma
- MS Dhoni
Wildcard pick – Dwayne Bravo
Hyderabad opening batsmen Shikhar Dhawan retired hurt after copping a nasty-blow to the elbow region against Punjab, there’s been no reports of a serious injury which could potentially see the 32-year-old face Chennai tomorrow. Replacing Billy Stanlake in the starting XI, Chris Jordan went wicketless at Chandigarh but should be given another opportunity to perform against Chennai. Afghani leg-spinner Rashid Khan was the victim of a six-hitting clinic from Chris Gayle in his last outing, he hasn’t been at his best in the Sunrisers past two games and could be a question mark when it comes to team selection. Another possibility is that Sandeep Sharma comes in for Chris Jordan which would finally allow Alex Hales to make his debut for Hyderabad, that’s all a hypothetical though.
Chennai Super Kings
With the Chennai Super Kings gaining some momentum but still tinkering with their eleven when need be, this match doesn’t look as if changes will feature when the team is announced later tomorrow at the coin toss. The only likely inclusion would be Faf du Plessis who has had plenty of time to recover from a couple of his injury niggles from South Africa’s International fixture. Sam Billings is currently filling in for du Plessis, he’s already played a total of three games in IPL 11 so far.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (possible) – 1. Wriddhiman Saha (wk) 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Kane Williamson © 4. Manish Pandey 5. Yusuf Pathan 6. Deepak Hooda 7. Shakib Al Hasan/Mohammad Nabi 8. Chris Jordan 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10. Rashid Khan 11. Siddarth Kaul.
Chennai Super Kings (possible) – 1. Shane Watson 2. Ambati Rayudu 3. Suresh Raina 4. MS Dhoni (c & wk) 5. Sam Billings/Faf du Plessis 6. Dwayne Bravo 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Deepak Chahar 9. Karn Sharma 10. Shardul Thakur 11. Imran Tahir.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.