Battle of near equals: Chennai vs Hyderabad
Chennai Super Kings' marauding batsmen will be put through a stern test by the intimidating bowling attack of Sunrisers Hyderabad when the two in-form teams clash for the first time in the sixth Pepsi IPL in Chennai on Thursday.
Both the teams have five wins each from their respective seven matches so far but while Chennai are second on the points table, Hyderabad are third due to the difference in their net run-rate.
That difference is primarily due to Hyderabad's batting woes which could prove to be their bane given that Chennai's batsmen are in top form.
With world's numero uno bowler, Dale Steyn, leading their pace attack, Hyderabad's bowling has been their strength.
Ishant Sharma, Thisara Perera and wily leg-spinner Amit Mishra make the rest of the bowling unit, which has played crucial roles in all their five wins so far in the tournament.
Image: Sunrisers Hyderabad players
Sangakkara looks a pale shadow of himself
However, batting continues to remain a major concern.
Skipper Kumar Sangakkara has looked a pale shadow of himself so far in the tournament and Australian Cameron White has delivered only in patches.
With Shikhar Dhawan still out of the reckoning due to a finger injury, Sangakkara, White and big-hitting Perera will have to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility with the bat.
Hyderabad would also be better off with substantial contributions from Parthiv Patel up the order and D B Ravi Teja.
Chennai, on the other hand, have little to worry about except for fatigue as they have been playing continuously.
Image: Kumar Sangakkara
Chennai is formidable
Chennai, two-time former champions, have been a formidable batting unit and that was proved yet against when they chased down a steep 186 against Rajasthan Royals in their previous match.
In Michael Hussey, they have a proven game-changer, who has been in sublime form. Besides, the likes of Suresh Raina and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni have been their usual aggressive selves.
Not to mention, the all-round abilities of Ravindra Jadeja, who would be eager to make amends for his duck in the last game.The bowling department does not feature many big names barring off-spinner R Ashwin, but it has delivered for the team.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt and wk), Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, SubaramaniamBadrinath, Ravindra Jadeja, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Srikkanth Anirudha, Baba Aparajith, Akila Dananjaya, Faf du Plessis, Ben Hilfenhaus,Jason Holder, Imtiaz Ahmed, Shadab Jakati, R Karthikeyan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ben Laughlin, Ronit More, Dirk Nannes, AnkitRajpoot, Wriddhiman Saha and Vijay Shankar
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Dale Steyn,Akshat Reddy, Ashish Reddy, DB Ravi Teja, Nathan McCullum, Anand Rajan, Biplab Samantray, Chris Lynn, Darren Sammy, Karan Sharma, Prasant Padmanabhan, Sachin Rana, Shikhar Dhawan,Sandeep Tyagi, T Sargunam, Veer Pratap Singh, Ankit Sharma, Parthiv Patel, Cameron White, GH Vihari, Thisara Perera, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma.
Image: MS Dhoni (right)