IPL 2019 CSK vs SRH, Match 41: What can we expect?

Ahead of today’s IPL game between hosts Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, here are the talking points:

A fitting farewell for Bairstow?

So much of Sunrisers’ success has been based on the performances of their openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, who have recorded all three of this season’s best totals in the Powerplay overs. When SRH and CSK met was last week, Rashid Khan helped quell the Chennai batsmen before Warner and Bairstow put on a blazing opening stand to end their team’s losing streak.

This will be the last match for Bairstow, who will return to England after this match. In four innings out of nine, Warner and Bairstow have put on 100-run opening stands. This puts them behind Warner and Shikhar Dhawan on the list of most century partnerships for the opening wicket in the IPL.

Bairstow is 72 runs behind Warner in the table for most runs this season. What chances of a fitting farewell?

Shane Watson CSK poor form
In ten games this IPL, Shane Watson has made 147 runs. © BCCI

Watson’s no-show a worry for CSK

Last season, Shane Watson‘s form for CSK was directly proportionate to them winning the IPL title. Stunningly, his century in the 2018 final took CSK to the prize.

But this year, the Australian has failed to ignite. With two ducks, two scores under 10 and a top score of 44 off 26 balls which earned him the Man-of-the-Match award in CSK’s second game, Watson has been a big letdown for the defending champions with 147 runs in ten innings.

Chennai are a team that backs their players, but it could be that Watson’s time has run out. If he gets the chop, CSK could promote Ambati Rayudu back to opening with Faf du Plessis and bring in New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner as an allrounder. The other option is to use Sam Billings as an opener.

A spinner for a pacer?

Back at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, CSK may want to reinforce their spin bowling with the addition of Harbhajan Singh instead of Shardul Thakur. In CSK’s home games, whenever he has played, Harbhajan has been economical and successful with the ball. With Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja certainties, the addition of Harbhajan could prove a handful if the MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch plays slow and low once more.

Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir are like old wine: MS Dhoni

Support needed for Dhoni

MS Dhoni is CSK’s leading run-getter with 314 at 104.66 and has five score in excess of 30 batting at No 4 or lower. In the previous game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Dhoni entered CSK’s chase at 28/4 in the sixth over and put on 55 with Rayudu. While his team-mates struggled to time the ball, Dhoni hit five fours and seven sixes in making an unbeaten 84 off 48 balls as CSK lost by one run.

Against a quality SRH bowling attack, Dhoni could use some help from CSK’s big bats who have collectively underwhelmed.

Why MS refused those three singles 

Spin it to win it

In the last match between these two teams, CSK lost five wickets for 22 runs in Dhoni’s absence. The talismanic captain is back at the held for CSK, and how he fares against Sunrisers’ spinners could prove decisive.

In 22 balls faced from Rashid Khan, Dhoni has scored 14 runs. Against the left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem – his Jharkhand team-mate, occasionally – Dhoni has scored 22 runs from 23 balls.

A slow starter against spin, Dhoni has had issues forcing the pace when faced with the slow men. The quicker the pace, the more devastating he has been this season.

Rashid put the brakes on CSK last week with 2/17 from his spell, which helped set up a big win. On a turning track, his four overs will be massive.