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Must-win tie for MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings

With just four points from eight matches, CSK are languishing at second from bottom
MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni
File Photo

Our Bureau   |   Published 01.05.22, 02:25 AM

Whether the decision to hand over the captaincy back to Mahendra Singh Dhoni is right or wrong is debatable. But irrespective of everything, Chennai Super Kings have no other option than beating Sunrisers Hyderabad in what would be their must-win clash at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Sunday.

With just four points from eight matches, Chennai are languishing at second from bottom.

Chances of making the playoffs look remote, and from hereon, the Dhoni-led side needs to win all their games in order to make sure their featuring among the last four remains a practical possibility.

As for Dhoni, he certainly has done better with the bat in the slog overs this year, finishing things off in his trademark fashion in some of the games. But now back to leading the team again, will captain Dhoni be able to find the Midas touch that the four-time champions so desperately need to stay afloat in this IPL?

Chennai would certainly hope so.

Also, they would hope Ravindra Jadeja, now relieved of captaincy, finds his rhythm back and lives up to the standard he has set for himself as one of the finest all-rounders currently in international cricket.

All said and done, it’s going to be a mighty difficult task for the Super Kings against the Sunrisers, who have been disciplined for most part of the tournament so far. Agreed, they couldn’t defend 195 in spite of being in a favourable position against table toppers Gujarat Titans the other evening at the Wankhede in Mumbai, but that’s largely because of a couple of poor overs towards the end when their bowlers, particularly Marco Jansen, messed up with their lines and lengths.

Whether Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson and the rest of the team management keep their faith in the South African left-arm pacer or bench him straightaway after one bad game remains to be seen. Besides, the tenacity and strong mindset that the

Titans middle-order possesses is appearing to be unmatchable, and that also had an equally crucial role to play in the Sunrisers’ defeat in their previous game.

But the presence of Umran Malik in their bowling attack is one massive boost for the Sunrisers.

The Jammu and Kashmir tearway quick is not just picking up wickets this season, but has also done commendably well in terms of restricting the flow of runs. No matter how the surfaces have been, Sunrisers’ opponents have found it very difficult to get Umran away.

Of course, cricket is a funny game and given the fickle nature of the shortest format, young Umran too could be in for a surprise and find out how great a leveller the game is.

Gaikwad form

Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad not being amongst runs has been another bane for Chennai this season. The Maharashtra top-order batsman, one of their prolific run-scorers last year, has strangely not been able to get going in the ongoing edition of the IPL.

Not that Gaikwad is looking absolutely clueless. He did score 73 against the Titans, but that knock apart, he has either struggled with his timing and even if he got going, Gaikwad has given it away with a poor stroke.

However, Sunday’s contest will provide him with another opportunity for redemption if Chennai persist with him in their XI.

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