Top two teams of the IPL 2018 league table, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, will lock horns against each other on Sunday afternoon at Pune.
Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers come to this fixture with an amazing form in recent times. They have lost only twice this season, and look like a perfectly balanced team. They are also the first team this season to reach the playoffs. Chennai, on the other hand, have been in good touch for most parts of the campaign, but they have had a few bad days and MS Dhoni will not want another defeat on Sunday.
Chennai Super Kings took a trip to Jaipur to face Rajasthan Royals in their last game. It was not a happy outing for Dhoni and co. Batting first, following useful contributions from everyone in the top order, they raised a total of 176. But then, a brilliant knock from Jos Buttler took the game away from Chennai. The Englishman’s 95 not out was well-crafted and it capitalized on some poor deliveries from the bowlers. Dhoni was evidently agitated with the way his players bowled and it might cause him rethink the strategies.
Williamson, on the contrary, would be very happy with his players. He himself has been in exquisite form in this IPL and in the last match, against Delhi Daredevils, he scored yet another fifty. This came after Delhi scored 187 from their 20 overs, thanks to a blistering 128 from youngster Rishabh Pant. The wicketkeeper-batsman, however, was sad to see his innings go in vain. Williamson (83* from 53), along with Shikhar Dhawan (93* from 50), managed to chase down the total with 7 balls to spare. With those two points, Sunrisers also became the first team to secure a playoff spot.
Team news and probable lineups:
The home side are likely to make changes. David Willey was terrible with the ball against Rajasthan and Dhoni will consider dropping him in favour of Lungi Ngidi. KM Asif can also come back ahead of Karn Sharma who failed to impress in the previous game.
Following is the expected starting eleven for Chennai Super Kings:
Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (C & Wk), Sam Billings, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur, KM Asif.
Sunrisers Hyderabad are expected to go with an unchanged eleven. They have no reason to experiment as the team look well-poised to keep performing and go all the way to clinch the title in the end. Here is how the Sunrisers side should look like tomorrow:
Shikhar Dhawan, Alex Hales, Kane Williamson (C), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Sreevats Goswami (Wk), Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul.