Three games in, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are languishing at the bottom of the IPL points table. It’s not a position MS Dhoni‘s boys have ever been accustomed to, and they will want to put things right when they face Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Friday night.
Their opponents are also in a similar situation, with two losses in three matches. Sunrisers started their campaign with two consecutive defeats before bouncing back with a victory against Delhi Capitals three days ago.
IPL 2020 Points Table
CSK, of course, will be getting back on the field after a one-week break. Their last game came against Delhi Capitals last Friday, which ended in a 44-run loss for the men in yellow. After the game, CSK coach Stephen Fleming had said they will utilize the one-week gap to do some “soul-searching” and review where they have faltered. The New Zealander will hope that the mini-break pays off.
“The break came at a good time because the first three games were in quick succession. We’ve used this break pretty well. We got some clarity around what we need to do and have practised very well,” Fleming said on the eve of the SRH encounter.
The Kiwi confirmed that the CSK camp has been bolstered by the availability of Ambati Rayudu and Dwayne Bravo for Friday’s clash. Rayudu had starred in CSK’s victory against Mumbai Indians in the opener but then went on to miss the next two matches due to a hamstring injury. Bravo, meanwhile, is yet to don CSK colours this season, having carried a knee injury from the recently-concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Their presence should plug some of the gaps that have been on view so far.
The subplot to watch out for, though, will be the contest between the spinners of the two teams. While Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla have struggled so far – having played their three matches in three different venues – the fact that they play four of their next five games in Dubai should help them adjust to the conditions on offer. Dhoni relies heavily on his spinners and will want them to come to the party.
Up against them will be the wily Rashid Khan, who is coming into the game on the back of taking 3/14 against Delhi Capitals. With the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan performing their roles as part of the supporting cast, Rashid can be expected to pose a severe test to the CSK batting line-up. Apart from Rayudu and Faf du Plessis, the others – including Dhoni – don’t seem to be at their best yet.
Referring to the fact that CSK have quite a few games coming up in Dubai, Fleming observed: “It’s very helpful that we can settle in and try and read conditions at one ground. There were many aspects that we weren’t happy with (against Delhi Capitals), and we’ve worked hard on those.”
Now that the time for introspection is done, the CSK players will have to show that they have rectified their errors and move up the points table.