Chennai, April 22: After suffering two back to back defeats, Chennai Super Kings will be hosting Sunrisers Hyderabad at home in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 on Tuesday (April 23) and would be aiming to arrest the mini-slide.
CSK's top three will be the primary worry for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as they return to their den MA Chidambaram Stadium. A win will almost ensure a play-off berth for the defending champions, who will look to bounce back.
If CSK's problem is the non-performance of the top-order, Sunrisers Hyderabad's issues are the non-performers in the middle-order. A major chunk of Hyderabad's runs have come from the bat of the openers, David Warner (517 runs) and Jonny Bairstow (445 runs).
However, Sunrisers registered an easy win over Super Kings when they hosted the latter at their home in Hyderabad, last week. Warner and Bairstow once again shined for SRH in a low-scoring game which Dhoni missed due to back spasm.
While Dhoni's Herculean effort to pull off another miraculous chase has been the talking point, it is difficult to overlook the poor show of CSK's top three.
Last season's hero Shane Watson (147 runs), Ambati Rayudu (192) and Suresh Raina (207) haven't lived up to expectations. The pressure has been entirely on Dhoni, who leads the charts with 314 runs and the batting unit needs to step up.
"The top three needs to finish more matches," Dhoni said after CSK's one-run loss to RCB.
Back at its den after a schedule of away games, Dhoni's men will be slight favourites due to the overall balance of their squad. It will also be Bairstow's last game for Hyderabad as he heads back to England for World Cup preparations.
The Chepauk pitch has been sluggish in the games played so far and coach Stephen Fleming attributed it to being one of the reasons for top-order's poor show.
"We played on Chennai tracks, where it is little bit difficult to find form. We are being little bit reckless and that comes about from guys who want to find form and do the job, but what is happening is we are relying heavily on Dhoni and Rayudu to patch things up and we won't win the competition if this continues," Fleming said.
CSK spinners have done well at Chepauk and the pitch favouring tweakers has been a reason for their success but SRH also boast of quality spinners in Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma.
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c) (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir/Harbhajan Singh.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan, Scott Kuggeleijn.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (capt), Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, T Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Shreevats Goswami, Khaleel Ahmed, Yusuf Pathan, Billy Stanlake, David Warner, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Shakib Al Hasan, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Wriddhiman Saha, Martin Guptill, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem.
Timing - 8pm
Venue - MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
Where to watch - Star Sports Network
Live Streaming: Hotstar.com
(With inputs from PTI)