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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Indian Premier League: Chennai Super Kings must plug Mustafizur hole

That the match is in Hyderabad, the venue where Sunrisers had amassed their record 277/3 a few days back, adds to the possibility of Friday’s game turning out to be the batters’ playground

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 05.04.24, 08:43 AM
Chennai skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad

Chennai skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad File Photo

The contest between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings on Friday can well be a battle of batters.

While the Sunrisers set IPL 2024 on fire when they smashed a record total against Mumbai Indians, Chennai have overall come across as the team with probably the strongest batting line-up who can afford to send Mahendra Singh Dhoni to bat at No. 8.

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That the match is in Hyderabad, the venue where Sunrisers had amassed their record 277/3 a few days back, adds to the possibility of Friday’s game turning out to be the batters’ playground.

But there’s also a bowling subplot to the match, with Chennai’s Mustafizur Rahman being a doubtful starter.

The Bangladeshi bowler has returned home to sort out visa issues ahead of the T20 World Cup, which be played in the US and the Caribbean later this year.

The left-arm seamer has been impactful this season with his cutters and variations. He is the top wicket-taker for his team and had formed a lethal combination with Sri Lankan slinger Matheesha Pathirana. So if Mustafizur is not available for Friday’s game, Chennai will have to redraw their strategies.

Sunrisers have their own bowling headaches to address though. The likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat and Mayank Markande haven’t been sharp enough to suit the demands of T20 cricket. Senior seamer Bhuvneshwar is in fact wicketless so far after playing three games.

Sunrisers captain Pat Cummins will therefore have to marshall his bowling resources well against a strong team like Chennai.

However, the spotlight will firmly be on the Travis Heads, Henrich Klaasens and Shivam Dubes — the big-hitters of the two teams, who will be expected to deal in sixes and fours.

Taking of boundaries, one must not forget the wily, old Dhoni. Chennai lost their last game to Delhi Capitals, but Dhoni won hearts with his strokeplay. Will the master finisher walk out with the bat on Friday too?

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