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SH aim to stay afloat

Ranchi: Two back-to-back reverses have taken some sheen out of the Chennai Super Kings’ sparkling record, but on Thursday, when they take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad, they will back themselves to return to winning ways.

That the match is in Ranchi, where the Super Kings have enjoyed an impressive run and where their captain perhaps feels most at home, is certainly a factor.

With a play-off berth already sealed, the Super Kings would not like another setback which could dent their confidence seriously. However, it must be mentioned that the Sunrisers have been one of the most unpredictable teams in IPL VII. Most importantly, they are coming off an impressive victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore and so have the required confidence.

The Super Kings are currently second on the table with 16 points from eight victories and four losses in 12 matches. The Sunrisers, on the other hand, are third from bottom with 10 points after managing just five wins in their 12 games.

Suresh Raina, who top scored for the team in the defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders, has enough faith in his team’s consistency. “I think it is the discipline. We have such good support staff who looks after the players really well… Most importantly, we have the best coach in the world — Stephen Fleming. He knows what to say to whom and gives space to everyone. Our new players also get along very well,” Raina said.

The Sunriers, in contrast, are all but out of contention even though they mathematically kept their chances alive by beating the Royal Challengers on Tuesday.

They cannot afford to lose their remaining two games and therefore they will be extra eager for a positive result on Thursday. To sneak into the top four, the Sunrisers will have to get past the Dhonis first.

They have had a change of captaincy. Under Darren Sammy, they have won one and lost one. One needs to see whether Sammy, who has been a very successful captain in T20s, manages to help the Sunrisers grab the ‘twig’ and stay afloat.