After 56 games in the regular season, the Indian Premier League has reached the business end. Four teams have qualified for the play-offs and are ready to battle it out for the 2018 IPL title.
The curtain raiser of the play-off season will be the first qualifier between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday, May 22nd.
The Sunrisers topped the points tally in the regular season with 18 points from 14 games, which is the same amount of points that the Super Kings amassed. It was only the net run rate that separated these two sides at the top of the table.
The sides have met twice in the regular season and both the matches were won by Chennai. In the first match in Hyderabad, Ambati Rayudu’s breezy knock of 79 off 37 balls led them to 182/3. In response, Kane Williamson scored 84 off 51 but Sunrisers were restricted to 178/6 as Deepak Chahar impressed with 3/15.
In the reverse fixture in Pune, the Sunrisers scored 179/4 riding on Shikhar Dhawan’s 79 off 49 balls. Chennai aced the chase as Rayudu led the way with an unbeaten 100 off 62 balls.
The Sunrisers have not felt David Warner’s absence, as Kane Williamson (661 runs, SR 143.07) and Shikhar Dhawan (437 runs, SR 139.61) made sure that the runs never dried up. The bowling has been exceptional too, with Siddharth Kaul (17 wickets, ER 8.0) and Rashid Khan (16 wickets, ER 7.21) leading an attack that is the best of the tournament so far.
The Super Kings have been equally impressive with the bat, as Rayudu (586 runs, SR 153.40), Dhoni (446 runs, SR 157.04), and Shane Watson (438 runs, SR 147.47) have been the pillars of their season. With the ball, Shardul Thakur (14 wickets, ER 8.82) has been their best bowler while Lungi Ngidi (nine wickets, ER 6.11) and Deepak Chahar (nine wickets, ER 7.35) have been effective.
- Sunrisers have lost three of their last four matches.
- Chennai Super Kings have won seven of their nine matches against the Sunrisers.
- Sunrisers’ Rashid Khan has bowled 2.36 dot balls per over in the league stage.
- Chennai Super Kings have the best run rate in the league stage at 9.04 per over.
- Chennai Super Kings have scored the most sixes in eight of their 14 matches.
The Sunrisers have lost their momentum a bit, heading into the playoffs as they have lost three of their last four matches. The Super Kings may feel it is the right to put it across them.
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