Chennai Super Kings host Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday evening, in a battle between second and third-placed teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The winners of the tie will take top spot in the league table, at least until Royal Challengers Bangalore return to action.
Where to Watch Live
Play starts at 3.30pm BST. Live coverage is on ITV 4 and ITV 4 HD. Follow the match live via text updates on ESPN Cricinfo.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) come into this game after a nail-biting home win over Rajasthan Royals. MS Dhoni's men were pushed to the penultimate ball of their innings by the Royals' bowlers, in their pursuit of 186 to win. And the home side needed West Indian Dwayne Bravo to smash Australian Shane Watson for six in the final over to seal two points.
Earlier in the day, CSK's bowlers were similarly pounded by Watson, who hit the second century of the 2013 IPL; the opener hit 101 off 61 balls to guide the visitors to a commanding total. Watson was helped by Stuart Binny, who managed 36 off 22 on a day the rest of the top and middle order flopped miserably.
For CSK, apart from spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who picked 2/20 from his four overs, the others were expensive and will need to improve, even if Sunrisers Hyderabad's batsmen aren't in the best of form.
The Super Kings' opener, Michael Clarke, hit a patient 40 off 51 balls to guide the side home against Kolkata Knight Riders, five days ago. Against the Royals, with run rate a far bigger problem, the Australian cut loose and led the line with 88 from 51 balls. He was backed by Indian senior Suresh Raina's 51 from 35 balls.
Ajit Chandlia and James Faulkner were immense for Rahul Dravid's side, picking up four for 36 from a combined seven overs; that only makes CSK's win even more remarkable, for they hammered 150 from the remaining 13 overs.
Meanwhile, IPL 2013's debutants - the Sunrisers - continue to exceed expectations. They come into this game with a five-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab. The performance was led, once again, by a superb bowling performance. South African fast bowler Dale Steyn was key again; the world's best bowler picked up the wicket of Gurkeerat Singh (17 off 12) at just the right time and conceded only 14 runs from his four overs.
Ishant Sharma, Karan Sharma and Amit Mishra all picked up two wickets each and brief flurries from Adam Gilchrist, David Hussey, Piyush Chawla and Singh helped inch Punjab to 123/9. But then, as it so often has this season, the Sunrisers batting struggled to reach the modest target. It needed a calm 46 off 39 balls from 19-year-old Hanuma Vihari and a late rally from Sri Lankan Thisara Perera (23 off 11 balls) to ensure the win.
CSK are overwhelming favourites but this will be an interesting tie - it features one of the strongest batting line-ups in the competition against what is, arguably, the best bowling unit.
Chennai Super Kings
- Last Five (most recent first): W W W L W
- Last Match: Chennai Super Kings beat Rajasthan Royals by five wickets
- Last Five (most recent first): W W L W L
- Last Match: Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kings XI Punjab by five wickets
Chennai have a full team but due to ongoing political issues between the Indian and Sri Lankan governments, cannot field either Nuwan Kulasekara or Akila Dananjaya. Expect Dhoni to name the same side that beat the Royals.
Hyderabad will want India senior batsman Shikhar Dhawan back in the side, providing the star of Australia's tour of India in March is fully fit. His presence is sorely needed in a side that has found no form with the bat. And, worse still, in-form all-rounder Thisara Perera and captain Kumar Sangakarra are ineligible for the same reason compatriots Kulasekara and Dananjaya are for CSK.