League position – 4
Matches – 14
Wins – 6
Losses – 8
While they might not be the most prolific of wicket-takers, Sunrisers’ bowling attack has been one of the most economical in the tournament. Between them, India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan have bowled 306 dot balls over the course of the campaign which is a staggering number.
While Rashid and his Afghanistan counterpart Mohammad Nabi have maintained an economy-rate of around 6.50, Bhuvneshwar has gone at 7.61. The pacers such as Khaleel Ahmed and Sandeep Sharma have also conceded less than nine runs an over which is decent and this in turn has helped SRH tie down the rate of scoring with the ball.
It is a completely different story with the bat for Hyderabad with David Warner and Jonny Bairstow having bid goodbyes to the IPL. Together, the two openers contributed 1,137 runs over the course of the campaign with Warner alone chipping in with 692 runs.
With the duo no longer available for the business-end of the tournament, SRH have their work cut out in the batting department. Skipper Kane Williamson has struggled big time with the bat this year with just 128 runs to show from eight innings and as such, there are big question marks surrounding the side’s batting prowess heading into the playoffs.
It is not just about replacing Warner and Bairstow’s runs for SRH but also their explosiveness given that both batsmen maintained a strike-rate of over 140.
One silver lining for SRH with the bat has been the resurgence of Manish Pandey ever since he was promoted to No3 in the batting order. The right-hander has been in excellent form since his promotion with three half-centuries in his five most recent outings.
While Pandey has the opportunity to continue his rich vein of form, there is also a chance for New Zealand opening stalwart Martin Guptill to make a big impact in the absence of Warner and Bairstow.
Delighted with the form of Manish Pandey. Always rated him and he has shown himself and everyone else that when in form he is a matchwinner. But consistency is a tough beast to tame.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 2, 2019
Momentum. After flying high for much of their campaign, the wheels have started coming off for SRH at the worst time possible. Williamson’s men head into the playoff battle on the back of four defeats in five games which is not a good sign. Momentum is key in the business-end of the tournament and currently, SRH are up against it.
League position – 3
Matches – 14
Wins – 9
Losses – 5
Proven international performers have been key to Delhi’s strong run this season with Shikhar Dhawan and Kagiso Rabada playing their parts to guide an otherwise inexperienced squad to their first playoff appearance since 2012.
South African ace Rabada has been nothing short of sensational with the ball with the Purple Cap holder’s 25 wickets coming at a strike-rate of just 11.28. Dhawan has impressed with the bat after an indifferent start with the India opener nearing 500 runs in the edition on the back of five half-centuries.
It was this kind of experience that Delhi sorely lacked last season where their young squad showed only fleeting glimpses of their potential.
While there have been many factors for Delhi’s success this season, they have struggled at times to finish off games while chasing. This shortcoming comes mainly due to the inexperience of their young Indian core including Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw.
It was most evident in their early-season clash against Kings XI Punjab when they collapsed dramatically to lose seven wickets for just eight runs. There have been several other occasional where they have stumbled across the finish line and that has reflected in Delhi’s net run-rate which is the lowest of all four teams to have qualified for the playoffs.
It has been a highly disappointing individual campaign for young Prithvi Shaw after his breakthrough year in international cricket. The right-handed opener is averaging just above 20 with the bat in the ongoing campaign with just one half-century to show from 14 innings.
Shaw’s ability has never been in question and the youngster now has a chance to bounce back into form just when the team needs it the most.
Delhi will go into the playoff battle severely handicapped by the absence of Kagiso Rabada who has now returned home. Without the South African’s wicket-taking abilities, Delhi could really struggle in the pace department. They will now hope that Trent Boult can take over the mantle from Rabada but the Kiwi stalwart could be rusty having featured just three times over the course of the season.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
League position – 2
Matches – 14
Wins – 9
Losses – 5
Experience and loads of it. Chennai’s squad is brimming with veteran campaigners who have done it all before on the big stage and continue to defy their ages in T20 cricket.
The 2019 campaign has proved to be no different with veterans such as Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh leading the line.
Their spin threat has been their calling card in the 2019 campaign with Tahir, Harbhajan and Ravindra Jadeja snaring 47 wickets between them.
You have to love Imran Tahir. At his age, playing with the same passion as ever. And still winning matches.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 1, 2019
It is with the bat that Chennai have struggled this season, with openers Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu failing to hit the heights of their 2018 showings. Skipper MS Dhoni is the glue which has held the batting department together with an average of over 122 but the rest of the unit has failed to fire on a consistent basis.
Both Watson and Rayudu are averaging less than 20 with the bat this season and that has increased the pressure on the rest of the batsmen. However, Faf du Plessis came out of his shell with 96 against Kings XI.
The defending champions will have the luxury of playing their Qualifier 1 battle on home soil at the Chepauk stadium. They will be the only team to have a home advantage in the play-offs and that could prove to be crucial given that the team has won all but one of the seven matches played at the venue this year.
Plus, featuring in Qualifier 1 gives CSK two shots at making the cut for the final – always a good thing.
While they do enjoy the home advantage, the fact that Chennai play host to Mumbai Indians is discomforting. Rohit Sharma and his men are the only team to beat CSK at the Chepauk in the current campaign and have enjoyed considerable success at the venue over the years. In seven clashes between the two sides at the venue, Mumbai have emerged on the winning side on five occasions.
Chennai will also have to make do without the services of batsman Kedar Jadhav, who picked up a shoulder injury in the loss to KXIP and will play no further part in the remainder of the tournament.