The round-robin phase is up and the real business starts right now. In the first Qualifier, SRH and CSK would be locking horns with each other in the Wankhede Stadium Mumbai where both the teams would want to win it for sealing a direct spot in the finals.
SRH and CSK, both finished with the same number of points, but SRH managed to finish at the top spot owing to their superior run rate.
Now as both of the teams finished in the top 2, they would have two chances to qualify for the finals.
CSK and SRH could be termed a bit complacent. Both have suffered losses after qualifying but for SRH the problem is more severe than CSK. They have lost 3 games on the bounce and look a different side from the side which was rampant all through qualifying. Moreover, CSK will take huge confidence from the fact that they beat SRH twice in the league phase.
CSK haven’t had the best form as well. They have been on a consistently altering pattern where they have won one and lost the next one. By logical calculation, this fixture could also end in defeat. CSK will be strongly hoping that Rayudu’s last game was a minor bump and nothing serious. The former Mumbai man has been one of the consistent performers in the league. What will be encouraging is Raina’s calm innings from the last match. This season it has been pretty tough for Raina but IPL is his tournament and you can’t just write him off.
This fixture is very hard to call as both the teams have been uncertain. None of the teams reached 20 points and it’s a rare feat to watch in IPL.
SRH: Do not expect any changes even though Braithwaite didn’t have the best of games last time around. They’ll look to recapture their first-half form with the stable squad. Braithwaite will look to take advantage of the inconsistent CSK bowling lineup.
CSK: One expected change will be Shane Watson in for either of Sam Billings or Faf Du Plessis. Faf didn’t impress in the last game while Billings has been far from satisfying for the CSK although he presents a good explosive option down the order.
Probable Playing XIs:
SRH: Shikhar Dhawan, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma
CSK: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Sam Billings/Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi
SRH: Two bowlers. Siddharth Kaul and Rashid. Kaul has calmly spearheaded SRH’s bowling lineup this season and 17 wickets in the league phase have impressed everyone.
Likewise, Rashid has been brilliant too. He has 16 wickets up until now and the Afghan spinner along with Kaul will look to dismantle CSK’s biggest strength in the batting.
CSK: Lungi Ngidi bowled one of the best spells last game against KXIP and will look to carry on his form as he looks to attack an uncertain batting attack of SRH. If he gets his confidence at the start, it will be very hard stopping him.
Shardul Thakur. Well, it’s a fair argument that Shardul has been a good bowler but nothing exceptional but last game against KXIP he showed CSK what a good utility player he can be. He was sent way up the order and he stabilized the CSK innings by Destabilizing KXIP bowling attack. Although there’s very little chance of him appearing that up top the order he has shown that Dhoni can call him if needed.
Wicket-keeper: From MSD and Sreevats Goswami, it’s a pretty easy pick of Dhoni who has enjoyed one of his best campaigns in the IPL.
Top Order: Ambati Rayudu, Kane Williamson, Shikhar Dhawan seem to be the best picks for today.
All-rounders: This is the part of the squad that both teams are equally blessed in. For today we’d pick Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo and Shakib Al Hasan.
Bowlers: All our key players should make it. Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi, Rashid Khan and Siddharth Kaul.