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|Shakib Al Hasan||12||10||2||0||120.00|
|Faf du Plessis||67||42||5||4||159.52|
|Shakib Al Hasan||2.0||0||20||0||10.00|
It all went down to the last match but the dust has finally settled on one of the most exciting regular seasons of the IPL. The Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Chennai Super Kings have finished as the top-2 teams of this year and will get two chances to try and make the finals. Both the teams will play the Qualifier-1. The winner of which will proceed to the finals and the loser will play the Qualifier-2 against the winner of the Eliminator (between KKR and RR).
We don’t think anyone has any doubts that the two best teams of the season have finished top-2. Which one will be able to move the finals in this match, though?
After a brilliant start to the tournament, the Sunrisers Hyderabad has lost momentum at a very crucial juncture in this tournament. The team has lost its last three matches and even though that was not enough to remove it from the top spot in the league standings, there will be some concern about the team heading into this match.
There have been a couple of issues that have come up to haunt SRH at this late stage in the tournament. The most glaring one has been its dependence on Kane Williamson to score the bulk of the runs. Williamson is having a brilliant season but to expect him to score runs in every match I just not possible. He has over 600 runs to his name but we suspect he will have to add at least another hundred to the total if SRH wants to lift the title this year as well.
There is Shikhar Dhawan who has had a good tournament but the search to find a suitable opening partner for him is still going on. We believe that SRH must play Alex Hales in the qualifier at Mumbai because he is a batsman that can win matches on his own. He will also relish the surface at Mumbai where the ball comes on to the bat and the boundaries are small.
The team seems to have settled on Manish Pandey in the middle order but needs to decide between Yusuf Pathan or Deepak Hooda. Once again, out preference would be for the hard-hitting Yusuf Pathan but both the players are pretty hit and miss.
Maybe playing Shakib Al Hasan closer to the top of the order could be the way to go in these games because he has the experience to handle the pressure and is very capable with the bat.
Another question that SRH needs to answer ahead of this match is about its bowling attack. Buvaneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan are the two world class bowlers in this lineup but a few of the others have been struggling.
We think Siddharth Kaul has earned his place in the side irrespective of any recent poor performances but Sandeep Sharma definitely needs to step up. He and Shakib will be the weak links of this attack which is going through a rough phase but is still the best in the competition.
SRH will be wary of the fact they are coming up against an in-form CSK which is the best batting side of the tournament. They have to be at their best to win this one.
Shreevats Goswami, Shikhar Dhawan, KS Williamson, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, YK Pathan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, S Sharma.
What is it about the Chennai Super Kings that they always manage to end up at the business end of the tournament without fail? They are now the only team to have made the playoffs every single season of the IPL that they have competed in.
MS Dhoni can be given a lot of credit for making that happen because his captaincy in close situations can often make all of the difference. His experience of winning tournaments and competing in must-win games on a regular basis for India as well as CSK has to be worth something.
We don’t expect CSK to do anything drastic in this match. They have relied on Shane Watson and Ambati Rayadu to give the starts and the pair should be reunited for this crucial match. Suresh Raina has had an average IPL by his standards but scoring runs just before the playoffs start will stand him in excellent stead.
Sam Billings has also probably done enough to keep his place in the side ahead of Faf du Plessis. The Englishman will be a part of the middle order along with Dhoni, Jadeja, and Bravo.
It is fortunate for CSK that MS Dhoni is having one of his best IPL seasons with the bat because otherwise, we can see this lineup get in trouble if a couple of wickets are lost early. The middle order has bailed CSK out from some hopeless situations which eventually were converted into victories.
Unlike the Mumbai Indians which lost matches after playing well, we think CSK has won a few matches that it should have lost. It is a formidable team but we feel that the batting market may have overestimated it a little bit and that is where the betting opportunity lies.
Take a look at CSK’s bowling attack. The likes of Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur, and Dwayne Bravo could all struggle on a flat Mumbai wicket. Harbhajan Singh has plenty of experience playing in Mumbai but Ravindra Jadeja becomes a dart bowler on flat tracks.
The SRH batting may not be the strongest but it has enough firepower in it to put the CSK bowlers under pressure. CSK’s fortunes will depend on the batting of Ambati Rayadu, Shane Watson, and the captaincy of MS Dhoni.
It was not too long back that MS Dhoni was publicly calling his team out for seemingly not wanting to qualify, so bad was their bowling, and SRH was dominating everyone who came in their way.
Faf du Plessis, SR Watson, SK Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, SN Thakur, Lungi Ngidi.
The team winning the toss will want to field first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
There is only a 10% chance of rain forecast for match day in Mumbai. The important aspect in matches conducted during this time of the year is dew. Thankfully, the matches are starting an hour early so the effect of dew may be minimized.
The pitch is going to be excellent for batting, of that there is no doubt. The bowlers are usually able to extract some bounce off the surface and the wrist spinners enjoy bowling on this surface as well. A ground where scoring tends to be on the higher side, 170 should be considered as a par score.
SRH batted first against CSK in both their matches this season and was beaten comfortably on both occasions. They will be desperate to win the toss and change things this time around. The toss will play a huge role in this match and the team chasing will have a big advantage.
SRH’s form coming into this tournament is poor and that is reflected in the bookmaker's odds. We think, though, that there is a clear case of backing the best bowling side to win on a surface where bowling could well the differentiator.
Back the Sunrisers Hyderabad to win.