With just two wins from seven matches this season, CSK face a daunting task of needing to win six of their remaining seven encounters to have a proper crack at making the playoffs.
And, for a side that has basked in the glory of making the playoffs in every single season of the IPL, there's a chance the MS Dhoni-led side miss the bus this year, unless they find a way to turn around their fortunes in quick time.
Their opponents for today's clash, the Sunrisers Hyderabad have one more win than CSK to their credit at the halfway stage, but the inconsistency in putting up match-winning performances has dented their campaign.
As for today's clash, there are some high stakes on offer, more so for David Warner's men. A win for SRH will take them to fourth place on the IPL 2020 points table, while a CSK victory will take Dhoni's wards to 6th position, but more importantly, a chance to add life to their alarmingly failing campaign.
IPL 2020: SRH v CSK Match Prediction
These two sides met previously in the 14th match of IPL 2020, in a game that saw SRH pick up a nervy 7-run win. Coincidentally, CSK won the first of their three games prior to the match against SRH, and post their loss to Warner's men, they've managed to win one match and lose their next two encounters.
The issues only seem to be compounding for CSK, with none of the batsmen - barring the openers - able to get the team across the line. And, arguably the biggest cause of their downfall has been the lack of intent with the bat in hand, a must-have feature in the artillery during run-chases.
None of the CSK batsmen have managed to even come close to filling the void left behind by Suresh Raina, with the likes of India internationals Ambati Rayudu, and Kedar Jadhav among others, failing to come to the party. With their collective failures piling on the misery, it's no surprise that they find themselves in the bottom half of the points table.
On the bowling front, CSK have lacked bite, with none of the bowlers able to make a telling impact. While Shardul Thakur has been the pick of the bowlers with 7 wickets from 4 matches, Dhoni hasn't been able to rely on any of his bowlers for an incisive spell so far.
With time running out for CSK, Dhoni might want to turn to IPL 2019 Purple Cap winner Imran Tahir for some inspiration, but who he replaces in the playing XI has remained a huge question mark halfway into the tournament.
SRH, on the other hand, would be buoyed with the openers Warner and Jonny Bairstow finding form as we head into the second half of IPL 2020. Kane Williamson has added some solidity to the top-order, while a couple of starts for Manish Pandey have also worked well for Hyderabad.
The issue for SRH, though, is the brittle middle-order and the low strike rates of the top-order batsmen. T20 cricket often does not allow for batsmen to take their time even once they have had a good look-in, but Pandey's strike rate of just 124.69 will need to be addressed, considering that he does bat until the slog overs.
While a case can be made for Pandey needing to stick on until the end and avoid the exposure of the middle-order, it would probably be wise for SRH to play Williamson at No.3, and give the former a license to kill towards the end.
That said, SRH drafted in Vijay Shankar in place of talented youngster Abdul Samad in the last game, and Shankar's experience could prove to be the solution to his side's middle-order woes.
What's more, SRH's overdependence on Rashid Khan has been well documented since Bhuvneshwar's absence, and this game could come down to how CSK tackle the Afghanistan star's threat.
SRH's tendency to bank on Rashid for important wickets is a template that has served the side well over the years, and if CSK find a way to pile pressure early on, Warner might be forced to introduce his trump card early on.
However, CSK's middle-order woes have echoed far and wide, and with the likes of Khaleel Ahmed and T Natarajan mixing up their variations well, a couple of early wickets could set the cat among the pigeons in the CSK camp.
And, if CSK are yet again forced on the back foot early on in the contest, it could see them play a not-so-successful game of catch up all over again. Overall, SRH seem the better side on paper going into this clash, while CSK are still seeking a few pieces of their puzzle.
Prediction: SRH to win today.Published 13 Oct 2020, 11:30 IST