IPL 2018 Playoffs, CSK vs SRH: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) probable playing XI to face Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)
How CSK might line up for the first playoff of 2018 IPL
The Chennai Super Kings finished second on the IPL 2018 points table after achieving a win against the Kings XI Punjab in their final round-robin match held at the MCA Stadium in Pune.
Chasing 154 for victory, CSK found themselves in deep trouble after losing three quick wickets. However, they bounced back courtesy a partnership between Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, who was promoted up the order in a surprise decision by MS Dhoni.
Deepak Chahar, too, was promoted up the order, however, these moves did not affect the final result as Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni saw them through in the end.
They would have been on top of the table if they won the match slightly more comfortably, however, they will still have two chances to reach the final as they get ready to take on table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first playoff to be held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on May 22.
Let's take a look at CSK's predicted playing XI for the match:
Shane Watson was rested for the previous encounter against the Kings XI Punjab but we could expect to see him back in action for the playoffs. He has given CSK a good start with the bat on a number of occasions and will look to do the same against the potent bowling unit of the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Faf du Plessis has played just a handful of games for CSK this year and got going in just one of those games. However, given Sam Billings' extremely poor form with the bat, we could expect to see him open the batting along with Watson in the playoffs.
Suresh Raina has had a decent tournament so far. He bounced back in the previous match after a couple of failures as he scored a match-winning half-century to take his side home. It's extremely vital for CSK that he remains in good form for the playoffs as he could hold the key to them winning the title.
Ambati Rayudu has been CSK's best batsman this season and is one of the contenders for the Orange Cap as well. He has not been able to get going in the previous two encounters and will look to gain back his form ahead of the important clash against SRH.
MS Dhoni has been at his vintage best in the tournament and has amassed more than 400 runs so far. He has provided the finishing touch to the innings on a number of occasions and has decimated the opposition bowlers with ease. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up his level of play against the likes of Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Ravindra Jadeja failed to make an impact in the first half of the tournament but has been quite impressive with the ball over the past few matches. He will look to pick up a few wickets and contribute with the bat as well, if needed.
Dwayne Bravo has not been at his best in the tournament so far, leaking away a lot of runs and not being able to pick up too many wickets. However, he will continue to perform the role bowling in the death and hope to get back his form in time for the playoffs.
Deepak Chahar has been a revelation with the new ball, swinging it both ways and picking up vital wickets in the first six overs. He has been used extremely well by Dhoni and will hope to see his team through in the final few games.
Harbhajan Singh has been hit for quite a few runs in CSK's previous few encounters and has not been amongst the wickets either. He contributed with the bat in the previous encounter and helped his side achieve a win. He will hope to get back his bowling form against SRH and help CSK reach the final.
Shardul Thakur has been quite expensive with the ball throughout the tournament, however, he has been able to pick up quite a few wickets. He will look to improve his economy rate in the final phase of the tournament.
Lungi Ngidi replaced David Willey in the playing XI for the past couple of matches and has been extremely effective with the ball, picking up wickets and containing the opposition's run-rate. He will continue to spearhead the bowling attack along with Chahar for the remainder of CSK's campaign.
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