Two of their veteran stars are back for selection. Ambati Rayudu's match-turning 71 had guided them to a win in the season opener, theur only win so far in the tournament while Dwayne Bravo is yet to make his first appearance this season. Rayudu was out with a mild hamstring injury while Bravo was carrying a few niggles from his CPL 2020 journey where he did not bowl in the last two matches. But the two are back with the hope to revive an under-pressure Chennai Super Kings who have slipped to the bottom of the table after successive losses. The three-time winners will be up against a rejuvenated Sunrisers Hyderabad, who recently bounced back to winning ways, at the Dubai International Stadium.
CSK and SRH have always reflected balance at the start of each season, but in the 13th edition of the tournament, the two former champions have incurred a scratchy path. CSK defeated Mumbai in their opener, but lost to Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals in their next to matches. Sunrisers, on the other hand, lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders before defeating Delhi Capitals in their third match.
Rayudu's return at the top would imply that he would replace an out-of-form Murali Vijay. However, Bravo's inclusion might be difficult for management. His replacement Sam Curran has put on impressive shows so far. Hence, for Bravo to squeeze in, Josh Hazlewood will have to miss out or Shane Watson will have to be rested.
For SRH to succeed, they need to find that one dependable Indian big-hitter in the middle order in case their top three -- Bairstow, Warner and Williamson fail in unison.
Kashmiri lad Abdul Samad has shows promise while both Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma need to up their game.
The bowling line-up is pretty even for both teams.
While Deepak Chahar, Hazlewood, Curran, Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla can be more than a handful on slow a Dubai track, SRH have found their death overs specialist in T Natarajan, who can be an ideal foil to world's No.1 T20 bowler Rashid Khan.
Khan was brilliant against Delhi Capitals, claiming three wickets which also earned him the man of the match honours.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain, wk), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Shreevats Goswami, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha, Abdul Samad, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, B Sandeep, Sanjay Yadav, Fabian Allen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Siddharth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi.
(Match starts at 7.30 pm IST).
(with PTI inputs)