Delhi who lost both league games to CSK this season will have to come up with a sensational performance in order to make their first IPL Final appearance.
Delhi Capitals have finally come together to play like 'Daredevils', but have an enormous task at hand. They will need to produce another special effort to beat the consistent Chennai Super Kings for the first time this season to make their maiden IPL final at Vizag on May 10.
CSK denied Delhi a top-two spot in the league standings with a crushing 80-run defeat at Chepauk. It was Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who led his side in that game, but in Qualifier 2, the stakes are much higher.
The win in the Eliminator, set up by their star player Rishabh Pant, here on May 8 will provide an extra dose of motivation going into the knock-out game at Vizag.
Pant's 21-ball 49 in a high-pressure game reignited the debate on social media over his non-selection in India's World Cup squad with former England captain Michael Vaughan saying it was "bonkers" to not have the young-wicketkeeper batsman in the mega event starting May 30.
His sensational effort made all the difference in the run-chase but he got out when his team was very close to the finishing line.
Not being able to finish games is one criticism that he has had to deal with repeatedly and there would be no better stage than Qualifier 2 to come up with another match-wining knock and carry his bat through.
Another young gun Prithvi Shaw too played an important innings of 56 and was happy to be back among the runs after low-scores in the previous three innings.
Delhi, having already played a game here, will have the advantage of knowing the conditions better.
Their fast bowlers, Trent Boult and Ishant Sharma, did a decent job in the absence of Kagiso Rabada and were well supported by Keemo Paul, who picked up three wickets.
Veteran spinner Amit Mishra was frugal again and also picked up an important wicket.
The batsmen would be rather relieved that they would not have to face the spin threat of Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh on a turner in Chennai but it would be a challenge nonetheless.
Another thing Delhi would have to be wary of is stage fright though the Eliminator surely prepared them for the tougher battles ahead.
CSK, on the other hand, are used to playing the big matches, having won three titles besides being runners-up four times.
They were hammered by Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1 but expect CSK to bounce back in style.
Dhoni will be expecting an improved performance from his batsmen after the disappointment against Mumbai Indians.
Opener Shane Watson has not been among the runs ever since smashing a 53-ball 96 against Sunrisers on April 23.
The talismanic skipper admitted that they could have read the conditions better against Mumbai at home and asked his batsmen to be careful with shot selection going forward.
"These are the best batsmen we have got, it looks like we are batting well, but at times, they pull off shots that shouldn't be played. These are the players who we have banked on, they have the experience and they should know to assess the conditions better," said Dhoni after the six-wicket loss to Mumbai.
Timing – 7.30 pm
Venue – Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam
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Head to head:
The two teams have faced each other on 20 occasions in the past with Chennai dominating the fixture with 14 wins as compared to Delhi’s 6 victories.
Chennai dominated Delhi in both league encounters this season. At the Feroz Shah Kotla, a Shikhar Dhawan fifty powered DC to 147/6. However, Watson’s quick 44 off 26 balls laid the foundation for an easy chase which Chennai pulled off with 6 wickets remaining.
In the return game at the Chepauk stadium, Raina (59 off 37) and Dhoni (44* off 22) helped CSK post an imposing total of 179/4. Tahir then scalped 4 wickets while Jadeja tok 3 as Chennai bowled out DC for just 99 runs.
Kedar Jadhav was ruled out of IPL 2019 after injuring himself in the last league stage fixture. Murali Vijay who replaced him in Qualifier 1 will most likely retain his place. Delhi too will most likely named an unchanged squad for this tie.
Delhi haven’t been able to get the better of Chennai in the group stages even with Kagiso Rabada in their ranks. However, a surprise victory for DC isn’t unlikely especially as they’ve been able to raise their team performances.
Betting odds (Bet365):
Chennai Super Kings: 4/5
Delhi Capitals: 1
Other popular bets can be viewed on Oddschecker.com.
Pitch report of ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium:
A score of 160-170 should be par on this wicket which offers turn all through the match bringing the spinners into play. The team batting first will hold the advantage as the dew sets in after the first innings.
DC Possible XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Colin Munro, Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Axar Patel, Keemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Trent Boult, Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma.
CSK Possible XI: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir.
Moneycontrol Dream XI: Shikhar Dhawan (C), Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shreyas Iyer, Dwayne Bravo, Keemo Paul, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir.
Players to watch out for
Faf du Plessis (CSK)
The South African scored a brilliant 96 in the last league game against Kings XI Punjab but failed to get going in Qualifier 1. He will be eager to once again get among the runs and help his team reach the finals.
Shikhar Dhawan (DC)
The Delhi opener has been in free-flowing form offering quick starts to the team this season. He is also Delhi’s highest run-scorer this season with 503 runs coming from 15 matches.(With Inputs from PTI)
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