Summer having set in, the mercury is rising indeed, and has been consistently crossing 40 degrees Celsius.
Hyderabad: On paper it’s a battle of equals, but the Chennai Super Kings appear every bit the heavyweights as they square up against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
The teams go into the match with contrasting forms. While CSK are fresh from thumping the Royals by 64 runs at their makeshift home of Pune, the Sunrisers are back home after suffering their first loss of the season - by 15 runs to Punjab in an away match.
Both teams have six points from equal number of wins in four matches they have played so far, losing just once each, but CSK are placed higher with a better run rate courtesy their 200-plus scores against Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals and a near-200 versus Kings XI Punjab.
The Cauvery water controversy may have driven CSK out of Chennai but the yellow submarine has an ocean called India to call its home, thanks to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is adored by fans all over. The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium will be no different as Captain Cool leads his side in a literally hot game that has a 4 pm start.
Summer having set in, the mercury is rising indeed, and has been consistently crossing 40 degrees Celsius. The Sunrisers would yearn to raise their game too in Sunday’s scorcher as they look to bounce back from defeat, stop the Chennai Express and reposition themselves on the winning track.
For that to happen, their fancied bowling attack has to punch big holes into the super strong Chennai batting line-up that boasts of latest centurion Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Dhoni, Sam Billings, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja. Not to forget opener A. T. Rayudu, for whom it will be an emotional homecoming, having reached higher echelons of cricket after honing his skills here in Hyderabad. He’s been here earlier in a Mumbai Indians jersey too.
Mystery spinner Rashid Khan who got caught in Gayle storm in the previous match against Punjab will look to find his mojo back and hope the opposition has not sorted him out.
The hosts have not quite had stable starts all through and will hope in-form Shikhar Dhawan recovers in time from injury — he was hit on the elbow by a Barinder Sran delivery in the match against Punjab Kings. However, team mentor V.V.S. Laxman did not reveal much on Saturday and said a call on Shikhar would be taken on matchday. Captain Kane Williamson has been consistent with the bat though while middle order batsman Manish Pandey’s half-century in the previous game must have brought cheer to the Orange camp. However, will that be sufficient against a constructive CSK bowling attack that includes the likes of Watson, Bravo and Imran Tahir is the question.