We have the two best teams of the Indian Premier League 2018 by far – Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings – taking on each other in the Qualifier 1. The good thing about the Qualifier 1 is that even the losing team gets another shot, so all is not lost.
This is hence by no means a decider. Any of the two teams could lose this game and yet make to the final. Chennai Super Kings are the sentimental favorites to win. They are back in this year’s IPL after an extended period out of cricket.
And yes, they have Dhoni. Dhoni has been by far the best player for CSK along with Ambati Rayadu. He has regained his golden touch, the swashbuckling batting style that he was renowned for. We finally have the MS Dhoni of old. We don’t know how much longer the great man is going to be around, so enjoy every moment folks!
There is a lot of talk about CSK being an ageing team. But that doesn’t matter. Each of the CSK players is playing at their very best and winning games for them – from Dhoni to Shane Watson; Bravo to Harbhajan – every senior has contributed.
Even the younger players such as Deepak Chahar and Lungi Ngidi have done well.
Senior batsman Suresh Raina explained why having older players should not be an issue. He said in an interview with the ANI, “People have been saying that our team is quite aged, but you need experience. All credit goes to Dhoni as you can see he is playing freely. In the IPL, he has shown that he can still play very well despite being 35-36.”
“Nobody remembers the runner-up. Everybody looks up to the winner. If we win this time, then the harsh memories of the finals that we lost in previous editions of IPL will go away,” Raina added.
As for Sunrisers, they have lost their last 3 games and will want to pull back as soon as possible. They have hit a bad run of form at the worst possible time and need to reverse that and get back to winning ways.
Prediction: The result of this match does not matter as we expect the same two teams to play in the final later. But CSK are in better form and should win this one.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Shreevats Goswami, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Carlos Brathwaite/Alex Hales, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Rashid Khan, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 Siddarth Kaul
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Ambati Rayudu, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 5 Sam Billings/Faf du Plessis, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Shardul Thakur, 11 Lungi Ngidi
Watch Sunrisers Hyderabad play Chennai Super Kings in the Qualifier 1 tonight at 8 pm on Star Sports!