Chennai Super Kings will be hoping to return to winning ways when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Friday. The three-time champions suffered back-to-back defeats in the Indian Premier League (IPL) following their opening day win against Mumbai Indians. They fell short in successive run chases against Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals respectively, making it imperative that they grab the bull by the horns when they face SRH.

Sunrisers Hyderabad, on the other hand, picked up their first win of the season in their last outing against Delhi Capitals and they will be confident about their chances of another victory on Friday. Following successive defeats to begin their campaign, SRH’s foreign batting contingent came together to play a big role in their first win of the season.

After a good start by David Warner and Jonny Bairstow in their last game, Kane Williamson – playing his first match of IPL 2020 – showed the team what they were missing with a crucial knock in the middle order. The 2016 IPL winners will be hoping for more of the same when they take on Chennai Super Kings in Dubai.

Chennai Super Kings dominate the head-to-head between the teams with nine wins compared to Sunrisers Hyderabad’s three but here we have a closer look at some of the battles and key players who could dictate the outcome of the contest.

Rayudu’s return a welcome shot in CSK's arm

Ambati Rayudu’s return will be warmly welcomed by the team, management and CSK’s fans alike. His return will certainly act as a boost for Chennai after consecutive defeats. In their only win of the season against Mumbai so far, Rayudu played a stellar knock, scoring 71 runs from 48 balls to deservedly win the Player of the Match award.

His replacement, Ruturaj Gaikwad struggled in CSK’s subsequent two matches, to say the least with a record of 5 runs at an average of 2.50 and a strike rate of just 45.45 further highlighting what a miss Rayudu has been. Add to that, the fact that Rayudu averages 49.67 against SRH – his most against a current IPL team – and it is easy to see why Chennai can’t wait to welcome him back into their playing XI. Since IPL 2018, Rayudu has scored 241 runs in 6 innings against SRH at an average of 60.25.

Versus Matches Runs Average S/R
Delhi Capitals 19 477 34.07 136.28
Kings XI Punjab 18 348 26.77 132.82
Kolkata Knight Riders 19 350 23.33 125.89
Mumbai Indians 7 182 30.33 123.81
Rajasthan Royals 16 331 27.58 135.1
Royal Challengers Bangalore 19 577 33.94 120.45
Sunrisers Hyderabad 14 447 49.67 134.63

Bhuvi could give SRH a good start at expense of Shane Watson

While Australian Shane Watson’s record against most Hyderabad’s bowlers makes for fine reading, the same cannot be said when he faces Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The Indian swing bowler, in fact, has been a thorn in the side of the Australian having gotten the better of Watson on quite a few occasions. 

He has dismissed Watson thrice, having bowled to him 13 separate times in the IPL. Removing him from the crease isn’t the only way Bhuvneshwar has gotten the better of Watson with the hard-hitting Australian frequently struggling to score runs off the Indian pacer. From the 83 balls that Watson has faced against Bhuvneshwar, he has managed just 78 runs at a strike rate of 93.97.

Batsmen Innings Runs Conceded Balls Bowled Dismissed
Shane Watson 13 78 83 3
Ambati Rayudu 12 72 60 2
Faf du Plessis 9 45 35 1
Murali Vijay 6 35 42 1

 Table: Bhuvneshwar Kumar vs CSK batsmen

Players to watch:

Chennai Super Kings – Faf du Plessis

South Africa's Faf du Plessis has been CSK’s best batsman in IPL 2020 by a country mile. He’s scored 173 runs in three matches and is averaging 86.50 besides also boasting a healthy strike rate of 149.13. Electric on the field with a safe pair of hands, du Plessis scored an unbeaten 58 against MI before scoring 72 and 43 in CSK’s last two games, making him their obvious dangerman with the bat against SRH.

Sunrisers Hyderabad – David Warner

Australian opener David Warner didn’t start IPL 2020 at his brilliant best but his last two innings when he scored 36 and 45 against Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals respectively offered indications that he’s not far from returning to top form. On his day, Warner is capable to taking any bowling line up apart and with a decent record against most of CSK’s bowlers, him getting a big score on Friday wouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

Stats to watch out for:

2: MS Dhoni needs 2 sixes to complete 300 sixes in T20s

2: Deepak Chahar is 2 wickets away from completing 100 wickets in T20s.

2: MS Dhoni needs 2 catches to complete 100 IPL catches as wicketkeeper.

3: Bravo is 3 wickets away from completing 150 wickets in IPL.

24:MS Dhoni needs 24 runs to complete 4500 IPL Runs.

75%: CSK have 75% win percentage against SRH, best against any team in IPL.

Writer’s pick:

Sunrisers Hyderabad will look to make it two wins in a row as they go into the match with confidence and self-belief. CSK, meanwhile, find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of confidence and will most probably find it difficult against SRH. A confident MS Dhoni is a must for CSK to be successful and after he recently admitted that a lack of practice has slightly dented his belief, it’s difficult to see how Chennai Super Kings come away a win.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam