SRH vs CSK, IPL 2024: Focus on Dhoni as Chennai Super Kings takes on Cummins-led Sunrisers Hyderabad

The fandom will be at a different level and stakes will be higher when Sunrisers Hyderabad hosts Chennai Super Kings for an IPL extravaganza at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Friday. 

As the aura of MS Dhoni grips the city and cricket fans, loyalties are certain to shift and the yellow jerseys are predicted to outweigh the orange ones. 

Welcome Chennai 

Padding up for the first time this season, Dhoni’s batting pyrotechnics were full on display against the Delhi Capitals in the last game, and although Chennai suffered its first loss of the season, Dhoni’s blitz (37 off 16 balls) gave enough indications that he can still be explosive with the bat. 

Dice loaded in CSK’s favour 

CSK has gained early momentum this season after winning two matches and losing just one, and the Ruturaj Gaikwad-led side would aim to bounce back to winning ways. The top order, comprising Ruturaj, Rachin Ravindra and Ajinkya Rahane have been in good nick, with Rahane scoring a 30-ball 45 in the previous game, thereby showcasing his class. Shivam Dube has been a revelation, and his ability to handle both spin and pace has been a boon for the yellow outfit. 

A new finisher in Sameer Rizvi with the veteran Ravindra Jadeja and Dhoni in its ranks, Chennai has the balance and the depth to challenge the Sunrisers. In the bowling department, Matheesha Pathirana’s booming yorkers have left the batsmen baffled. 

READ | Why CSK is the place to be for youngsters despite limited game time

With a slingy action, resembling former legendary Sri Lanka bowler Lasith Malinga, Pathirana bowls at an angle that makes it difficult for batters to predict the line of the delivery, with the pace being his ally. The fast bowling unit has the spice of Deepak Chahar and Tushar Deshpande, with Jadeja rolling out gold dust with his left-arm spin. Mustafizur Rahman will not be available for at least the next two matches after the pacer flew back to Bangladesh to complete his U.S. visa formalities for the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Skipper Ruturaj shines 

Skipper Ruturaj is settling nicely into his role by making some timely decisions, and although he has Dhoni’s hand over his shoulder, the youngster has given the impression that he is not overly reliant on the former skipper. During the match against the Gujarat Titans, Rizvi was given a promotion ahead of Jadeja, demonstrating his astute decision and qualities as a thoughtful captain.  

Sunrisers aims to bounce back 

Meanwhile, the high-flying Sunrisers Hyderabad, who posted the highest total in IPL history, was grounded by Gujarat in its last game. The Pat Cummins-led side stands sixth in the points table, having won one match and lost two. The match against Chennai presents an opportunity to bounce back and maintain its winning record at home this season intact. But, for that, Sunrisers needs to iron out a few flaws. 

Agarwal searches for form 

Mayank Agarwal’s form is a bit of concern for the Sunrisers, as in three matches the opener has scored just 59 runs and failed to convert his starts into big ones. The top-order augurs well with the likes of Travis Head, Abhishek Sharma, and Aiden Markram in fine form. The key however is Heinrich Klaasen, who has already smashed two half-centuries this season and is the linchpin in the batting department. 

Bhuvneshwar’s bowling woes 

While the batting is more or less sorted, the bowling is heavily dependent on Pat Cummins, as Bhuvneshwar Kumar is yet to hit the straps. The veteran India international hasn’t picked a wicket so far this season, bowling at an economy of 10.92—his highest ever in a decorated career of 163 matches. Although the pacer has the backing of skipper Cummins, Bhuvi, who knows the track like the back of his hand, will have to provide the early breakthrough with the new ball to give Sunrisers control. 

ALSO READ | Result a fair reflection of the way teams played, says Fleming after CSK’s loss to Delhi Capitals

Jaydev Unadkat has been among the wickets along with Cummins, and Mayank Markande and Shahbaz Ahmed manning the spin department. The pace of Umran Malik adds excitement and a bit of tinge to the bowling department. 

Form Guide

Chennai Super Kings started with a win against Royal Challengers Bengaluru and then defeated Gujarat Titans before slipping against Delhi Capitals. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad started on a losing note as Kolkata Knight Riders won a thriller but bounced back superbly to post the highest IPL total (277/3) against the Mumbai Indians at home. Sunrisers, however, lost the next match to Gujarat. 

City Chat 

It’s a festive mood in Hyderabad, with fans still thronging around the stadium for tickets, only to walk back in disappointment. For the lucky ones who have booked a box-office seat, the match result will almost be inconsequential, as the amphitheatre is bound to reverberate with the chants of Dhoni! Dhoni!

A humdinger is on the cards. 

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