The grand old men of the IPL have the onerous task of proving the critics wrong yet again. Chennai Super Kings have been dented by withdrawals and injuries but they will have to make do with what they have and come up with a rearguard against the charged up Sunrisers Hyderabad when the two teams clash in Dubai on Friday.
CSK have lost their last two matches after a bright start to the campaign against defending champions Mumbai. Lacklustre batting performances against Delhi and Rajasthan means Dhoni's men are at the bottom of the points table.
The good news though is the availability of Ambati Rayudu, their star from the opening match. Rayudu's presence will ease the pressure on Faf du Plessis, who has had to do the bulk of scoring with Shane Watson yet to hit his straps.
Rayudu's presence will hopefully end Murali Vijay's painful stint in the middle. The opener looks out of pace and ideas in this format and should be sent to cold storage. Dhoni himself needs to show some form with the bat and reassure fans about his ability to cause damage to opposition bowling line up.
Sunrisers had a poor start to the campaign themselves but Kane Williamson's selection changed their fortunes in their last clash against Delhi. While the opening duo of Warner and Bairstow were the main contributors, Williamson added much needed steel to the weak middle order and that helped SRH's cause. The duo of Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar too produced the goods as SRH were back to defending average totals to record their first win.
While Sam Curran has been a great asset for CSK so far, it needs to be seen whether Dwayne Bravo plays his first match or not after getting a go in the nets. Imran Tahir also has a case with Piyush Chawla failing to set the stage on fire.
While SRH it seems has finally figured out their best XI, Dhoni and Fleming will have to dig deep to finalise their playing XI in a match where CSK will have to get the better of the opposition's overseas talents.
A keen encounter is in the offing as Dhoni's cornered lions will look to roar back to form.