CSK opt to bat, Dhoni out with back spasms

Ambati Rayudu steps out and carves one over mid-off © BCCI

Toss Chennai Super Kings opted to bat against Sunrisers Hyderabad

For the first time since 2010, Chennai Super Kings are being captained by someone other than MS Dhoni, who took part in a pre-match football warm-up ahead of the game but was rested from this match after pulling up with back spasms in Super Kings’ last game.

Suresh Raina took up the leadership role in his absence, and Sam Billings will keep wickets for Super Kings, who came into this game on a winning streak, but with a couple of injury worries in their ranks. Harbhajan Singh, suffering from a stiff neck, did not travel to Kolkata for their last game, though Dhoni’s absence could be the trickier proposition for them. Mitchell Santner also missed out today, with Karn Sharma replacing him.

David Warner had put Sunrisers Hyderabad’s stunning collapse in their last game down to a lack of experience in the batting order, and to that end, Sunrisers have brought back the experienced head of Yusuf Pathan to their middle order. There was no space for Abhishek Sharma, with left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem also returning to the playing XI.

Stuck at the lower end of the points table after a string of defeats, Sunrisers will hope the changes will spark a change in their fortunes against a team they don’t have a particularly good record against, having lost the last eight games they have played against Super Kings.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner, 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Vijay Shankar, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Shahbaz Nadeem, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 Khaleel Ahmed

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Suresh Raina (capt), 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Sam Billings (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Karn Sharma, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Shardul Thakur, 11 Imran Tahir

Liam Brickhill is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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