Dubai: An off-colour Chennai Super Kings (CSK), coming back after a six-day rest, will hope for a change of luck when they clash with SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in an IPL match between wooden-spooners at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium here on Friday evening.
Both teams are placed at the bottom of the eight-table points table with two points each from three matches. Although there is enough time for the two teams to stage a comeback into the tournament, it is always better to qualify for the play-offs as early as possible - and then try out experiments.
Despite being at the receiving end in their last two games, three-time champions CSK have a reputation of starting the league shakily before making a roaring comeback in the later-half of the league. That goes for all teams, and not just CSK.
Coming to the match, the David Warner-led SRH will not take their opponents lightly on Friday. Moreover, Ambati Rayudu and Dwayne Bravo are reportedly fit and are likely to be inducted in the playing XI, which could be another concern for the Orange Army.
If Rayudu finds a place in the XI, he would replace an out-of-form opener Murali Vijay while the inclusion of Bravo will further compel Mahendra Singh Dhoni to tinker with the batting line-up.
Bravo may compel Dhoni to include him in the XI, possibly at the cost of Aussie quick Josh Hazlewood. The Caribbean all-rounder can not only provide depth to CSK's batting, but can also boost their bowling attack.
A lot discussion has taken place on Dhoni's decision to come down the order in earlier matches, a decision that has backfired so far and it remains to be seen how the charismatic skipper approaches the game against SRH. Remember, SRH are coming after a win against Delhi Capitals (DC), so they will be high on confidence.
In their bowling department, Deepak Chahar and Sam Curran have not been up to the mark and they will surely aim to bounce back. The spin workload will once again be shared by Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja who, too, have disappointed their team till now.
It will be unfair to predict whether the CSK bowling attack remains the same or gets tinkered with as the side is led by someone who has been unpredictable throughout his career vis-à-vis his decisions -- Dhoni.
On the other side, SRH will surely aim to register their second win of the tournament. But, at the same time, they will be aware of their opponent's potential.
SRH defeated DC in their last outing, riding on their bowlers' magnificent show, especially Rashid Khan, who emerged with impressive figures of 3/14 from four overs. The leggie received good support from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who finally looked in a great rhythm after bagging two wickets for 25 runs, and T Natarajan (1/25).
In order to contain the CSK batsmen, who will definitely be desperate to get some runs under their belts and silence their critics, the SRH bowlers need to turn in another spirited show on Friday.
SRH skipper David Warner and opener Jonny Bairstow look in good touch while the comeback of Kane Williamson has further boosted their middle-order. After missing the first two games, the New Zealand skipper's 26-ball 41 against DC would be a matter of relief for the SRH team management as they lacked experience in the middle order.
However, Williamson will need to up the ante towards the end of his innings and the lack of a genuine explosive hitter in the lower-middle order could be cause of worry for SRH.
Historically, CSK has dominated their southern India neighbours after winning nine of the 12 games they have played so far.