With ten points each from seven games, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad would appear to be on an equal footing in the Pepsi IPL. However, in reality, that is far from the truth. While Chennai are starting to peak with three convincing victories in as many games, Hyderabad are the underdogs who have scrapped for their wins, the last coming courtesy a dramatic four-wicket over by Amit Mishra against Pune Warriors India.
When Hyderabad resume action after a five-day break, the longest breather so far for any team this season, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Thursday (April 25), they will hope rustiness is not a factor. To keep their ambitions of qualifying for the playoffs alive, not only do they need to win have not only to win games but also boost their net run rate, which is currently at -0.104.
The absence of Thisara Perera, the in-form allrounder, and Kumar Sangakkara, their captain, for this fixture makes the task doubly challenging, though Hyderabad have been buoyed by the return and availability of Shikhar Dhawan, who is set to make his first appearance of the competition. Dhawan has recovered fully from the finger fracture he sustained on his Test debut in Mohali against Australia last month, and Hyderabad will be hoping he finds form straightaway to alleviate their batting problems. Sangakkara had dropped himself for the last two game to give Quinton de Kock a go, but Perera has been an influential part of the Hyderabad campaign.