Chennai Super Kings comes into its fourth match against Sunrisers Hyderabad in an unfamiliar position. It is lying at the bottom of the points table after losing two of its first three games.
Though CSK leads Sunrisers 9-3 in the head-to-head battle, the 2016 champion comes into the contest with momentum on its side after beating Delhi Capitals comprehensively earlier this week.
The wicket in Dubai on Wednesday showed first signs of turn especially when the Kolkata Knight Riders spinners were bowling in the second innings. This should be encouraging for Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja, who have been lacklustre so far.
After its win in the last game, SRH seems to have identified its combination with three foreign recruits bolstering the batting department. Kane Williamson’s 26-ball 41 against Delhi proved to be the turning point.
The CSK management might consider Imran Tahir to strengthen the spin department which would mean it has to sacrifice a foreigner in Josh Hazelwood.
The key men
For CSK, the good news is both Ambati Rayudu and Dwayne Bravo are fit and available for selection. Rayudu was the star for Super Kings in its opening match win against Mumbai Indians.
If David Warner or Jonny Bairstow can go after the CSK bowlers at the top of the order and post a big total, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men might be under the pump.
Though most teams have preferred to chase so far, all six matches in Dubai have been won by teams batting first (two of them in Super Over). So it will be interesting to see if Dhoni or Warner take that into consideration on Friday.
Match No 14: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Time: 7.30 pm
Chennai Super Kings: Murali Vijay, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (Captin & Wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Kedar Jadhav, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Lungi Ngidi, Karn Sharma, Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur, Monu Kumar, Mitchell Santner, R. Sai Kishore, N Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (Captain), Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper), Kane Williamson, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Manish Pandey, Virat Singh, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Vijay Shankar, Sanjay Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha (Wicketkeeper), Shreevats Goswami (Wicketkeeper), Bavanaka Sandeep, Basil Thampi, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Abhishek Sharma.