The Indian Premier League has always been the most entertaining sports league of the country and the 2018 season of the IPL was one of the closest ones ever, with the final playoff spot being decided on the final day, and in fact, the final match. By virtue of finishing 1st and 2nd on the points table, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings will now play each other in Qualifier 1 of the playoffs stage. What’s good about this is that the winning team goes straight into the IPL 2018 final while the losing team isn’t out. They will get another chance in Qualifier 2.
How does one separate these two teams? 14 games, 9 wins each and an almost identical net run rate. Sunrisers have been able to string together many successive wins while Chennai haven’t. However, Chennai have more performers as compared to Hyderabad, who are reliant on just 2 or 3 with the bat. Again, Hyderabad have the best bowling attack in IPL 2018, while Chennai has a bowling attack that can be taken to the cleaners. Both teams have their strengths and weaknesses and it’s going to be difficult to choose a winner between these two champion sides.
The first qualifier is being played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, one of the fastest pitches in the Indian Premier League. Batsmen will have a good outing here and ultimately, it’s going to come down to which bowlers go better. One of the biggest dilemmas CSK will face is choosing between Faf du Plessis and Sam Billings. They played them both in the last game but they will require an extra bowling option in Mumbai, so one of them will make way for David Willey or Imran Tahir. Remember, Shane Watson is also on the bench!
Billings’ scores this season:
- 56 vs KKR
- 9 vs KXIP
- 3 vs RR
- DNB vs SRH
- 9 vs RCB
- 3 vs MI
- 27 vs RR
- DNB vs SRH
- 1 vs DD
- 0 vs KXIP
While IPL 2018 has been nearly a flawless season for Sunrisers, lets remember that Chennai have dominated them this season, winning their first encounter by 4 runs and winning the second one with 8 wickets and 6 balls to spare. SRH have tried batting and bowling first against Chennai and nothing has seemed to work this season, and CSK hold a 6-2 lead in the H2H count between these two sides in the Indian Premier League.
Sunrisers decided to play around with their team combination in the last game, bringing Carlos Brathwaite into the side for English international Alex Hales. Brathwaite picked up 2/21 in that game but lets not forget that SRH already have the best bowling attack and they do not need more options. With three 35+ scores in 6 innings, Hales is the likely pick for this game, given that the batting order is extremely dependent only on Shikhar Dhawan & Kane Williamson. A good sign for this team is the recent good show of form from Manish Pandey.
Chennai’s weaker department was the bowling one and after a fine display from Ngidi and Deepak Chahar in the last game, suddenly they seem to be stronger all-round. Also given the fact that SRH hasn’t beat them this season shows that all signs are pointing towards a Chennai victory. Don’t you forget that Chennai have made it to a record 6 IPL finals, in the 8 seasons they have played prior to this and they sure know how to deal with the pressure of big games.
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