IPL 2018: Hyderabad play Chennai in Qualifier 1
After a month and a half of daily cricketing action, we finally had a rest day in the Indian Premier League yesterday. It was to mark the end of the round robin stage and allow teams an extra day to prepare for the IPL 2018 playoffs. Qualifier 1 is the first game of the playoffs, where Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
For these two teams, qualifying to the playoffs was not enough. Finishing in the top two was on their minds so that they get another chance in Qualifier 2 if they lose today. It's going to be a tough game between two sides who have won 9 of their 14 league games and have dominated most of the other teams this season.
Chennai have historically loved playing against Sunrisers, leading the head to head count, 6-2. This season too, CSK won both their encounters. They won the first game at Hyderabad by 4 runs, followed by winning the second game at Pune by 8 wickets. While all the teams have struggled against the lethal Hyderabad bowling attack, CSK have scored 180 against them on both occasions.
Common to both matches was a fifty from Kane Williamson and his wicket is going to be an extremely important one. He has amassed 661 runs in 14 games this season, including 8 fifties, and has been one of the major reasons for Hyderabad's success this season.
As Williamson is to SRH, Ambati Rayudu is to CSK with 586 runs in his 14 games. However, he has only managed 3 fifties and a century which shows that Chennai need him to convert those thirties and forties into consistent bigger scores. Shane Watson was rested in the last game, but he should be brought back tonight, in place of Faf du Plessis or Sam Billings.
Hyderabad are coming into this game with three consecutive losses and that can't be a good sign. Their batting has been over-reliant on Dhawan and Williamson, and dropping Alex Hales in the last game only made matters worse. Expect a high scoring game at the Wankhede tonight and by the looks of it, a Chennai victory!
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