- Though Faf du Plessis has been decent up top for CSK, Shane Watson is yet to get into his groove.
- Barring a 96 against SRH, he has been slowing things down; a chink DC will look to capitalise on.
- Though this is a dream run, DC too come in with a chink: unpredictable middle-order. They’ve made a hash of a few chases this season.
VISAKHAPATNAM: Three-time champions against a team that has just posted its first ever IPL playoff win. A team full of 30-plus players versus another packed with 19 and 21-year-olds. A skipper with a decade of experience against one who is leading the team for the whole season for the first time. From outside, that’s how Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals look ahead of Qualifier 2, from which one will make the final.
This season, Shreyas Iyer’s Delhi have not been able to decode the Chennai attack and ended up losing on both occasions in the league stage. On a slow Kotla surface, they struggled against Dwayne Bravo, while the spin duo of Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja shot them out for 99 at MA Chidambaram Stadium. Although Delhi will be high on confidence after Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant’s fine show in the Eliminator, facing Chennai’s spin trio won’t be easy on a sticky wicket at ACA-VDCA Stadium.
Delhi’s cautious display against Hyderabad’s spinners on Wednesday also reflected that. Introduction of spin slowed things down in the second innings after a brisk start. Rashid Khan conceded 15 off 24 balls including a double-wicket maiden, Mohammad Nabi conceded 7.25 per over, while the pacers went for more than eight an over. Even Delhi’s Amit Mishra and Axar Patel were effective, going for just 46 runs in eight overs.
“I think everyone knows their role and understands how they’re bowling because we’ve faced them (Chennai) twice already,” Shaw had said after Wednesday’s game. “Obviously Chennai have good spinners in Jaddu, Tahir bhai and Harbhajan sir. We’ll plan for them once we get there, like who to take chances against and who not. There are a lot of things we have to think about. Once we go there we’ll sort it out.”
Chennai too have their areas of concern. Despite playing Qualifier 1 at home, they lost to Mumbai and were once again found wanting in the batting department. They need to come out guns blazing in the power play in order to post a competitive total. They have been guilty of starting slow this season and cannot afford that in the must-win fixture.
Though MS Dhoni has often rescued the team with his late assaults, how the rest handle the power play might make the difference on Friday. On Wednesday, both Delhi and Hyderabad were quick to capitalise on this period, making 55/0 and 54/1, respectively, in the first six overs.
“The first six overs are very important when you are batting. Once you put runs on the board initially, it becomes easier for the players coming in later on. It will be the same tomorrow, especially on this pitch where I felt it was a bit difficult to pull the ball. Cutters and slower balls can be quite effective here,” Shaw said.