Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Match 23 of the IPL 2021 season at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. The stadium will be hosting its first game of the season and hopefully, it will deliver a lot of thrillers.
CSK thrashed the table-toppers RCB in their last game by 69 runs, thanks to an all-round show by Ravindra Jadeja. SRH, on the other hand, suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of DC in the Super Over. The two teams are having contrasting tournaments so far and this game could be an interesting one.
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CSK vs SRH: 3 batsmen to watch out for
The boundaries here are relatively shorter than in Chennai and thus, some fireworks are expected with star batsmen in both the CSK and the SRH ranks. However, the pitch also tends to slow down as the game progresses, which makes runs on the board an even more important factor.
On that note, let's have a look at the three batsmen who could make their innings count in the CSK vs SRH encounter:
#3 Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow's move to the top of the order has worked well for SRH as he has turned out to be their highest run-scorer so far in the tournament with 211 runs from five games. Initially, SRH had backed the opening combination of David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha as they found some success last season.
With Kane Williamson unfit, Bairstow was handed the responsibility of batting at No. 4. It seemed like a good option as Bairstow bats in that position for England in the T20Is and is a good player of spin. But it didn't work out well as SRH lost their opening two games.
The decision to open with Bairstow and Warner did seem a risky one at first, since it significantly weakened the middle-order. But it has eventually turned out to be the right decision as the Englishman has looked by far the most destructive opener this IPL season.
In all three games that he has opened so far, Bairstow made a good start and converted one of them into a match-winning half-century. With the boundaries not that huge in Delhi and the ball being hard and new, Bairstow might once again unleash his counter-attack, this time on the CSK bowlers.
#2 Kane Williamson
Whenever people question Kane Williamson's credibility in the shortest format of the game, he churns out a special knock in difficult situations. This is exactly what happened in SRH's previous game against DC.
With both Bairstow and Warner back in the hut, SRH looked down and out chasing a decent total of 160 to win the game. However, Williamson's unbeaten 66 off just 51 balls on a slow turner in Chennai proved to be almost a match-winning innings as SRH tied the game and took it to a Super Over.
Although SRH couldn't win the Super Over, Williamson has once again proved his mettle. The calm presence of the Kiwi batsman at No. 3 allows the likes of Bairstow and Warner to go all out at the top of the order.
The pitch in Delhi might get a similar turn to what it was like in Chennai as the game progresses. So Williamson anchoring the innings might once again become crucial for SRH. If he scores big against CSK, SRH might well be on their way to earning their second win of the season.
#1 Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis is arguably one of the most consistent and underrated batsmen in the history of the IPL. He has been with CSK for a long time and the tradition of the franchise showing faith in their players has certainly paid off in Du Plessis' case.
The former South African skipper wasn't playing competitive cricket regularly and many believed he was past his prime. However, this season he has shown that he can still be a mighty effective player, especially at the top of the order.
Du Plessis is CSK's highest run-scorer this season with 214 runs to his name from five games. He has also hit back-to-back half centuries and is in red-hot form. With his opening partner Ruturaj Gaikwad relying more on timing and getting his eye in, it will be Du Plessis who will need to play the role of aggressor.
Du Plessis continues to be a vital cog in CSK's wheel and his form will be crucial if CSK are to continue their winning streak this season.