Official word awaited on captain Shreyas Iyer’s availability but Delhi haven’t let injuries come in their way while Dhoni’s Chennai have failed to impress this season
MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) haven’t managed to win as many games in the Indian Premier League 2020 as injured-plagued Delhi Capitals, who they take on in Sharjah for the second game of October 17.
CSK, who have dominated IPL for most of it years, haven’t looked like the same team in the absence of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh. They have won just three of their eight matches.
In contrast, Delhi with an ever-growing list of injured players have lost only two of their eight games this season. They missed R Ashwin in the first two matches and then injuries ruled out Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma from the tournament. Fitness issues compounded with Rishabh Pant, who is in good nick, being forced to sit out the last two games and the latest blow is Iyer’s shoulder injury. In the eight games, he has scored 298 runs at an average of 42.6. There is still no official word on Iyer’s availability for the match at Sharjah but, if needed, deputy Shikhar Dhawan not only led well but also played a fine innings in the last match.
“Yes, things are looking good at this stage of the season but I’m never the one to try and look too far ahead because I know how quickly the IPL can turn around. We’ve seen teams in the past have six wins from their first six games, and then not go on to make the playoffs. So we'll keep a lid on things, and I still think we’re six wins from eight games, but probably haven't played our best cricket yet either,” DC head coach Ricky Ponting said in a press release.
DC is old CSK
The 13th IPL is a role reversal of sorts. CSK have dominated Delhi, with Chennai winning 15 of their 22 games but this season, Iyer and gang have not only beaten Dhoni’s men by a mile, or 44 runs, in their first game but also most other teams.
If Delhi are looking like the CSK, it is because they have been consistent and everyone is chipping in—no one, so far, has won the Player-of-the-Match award twice. Dhoni’s side is mirroring everything that Delhi have struggled with over the years— inconsistency and not even thinking about a play-off berth.
If Delhi are struggling to field a fit team, CSK have not been able to make a place for their biggest match-winning bowler Imran Tahir, who got the Purple Cap last season for most wickets. “When I used to play many players carried drinks for me now when deserved players are in the field it’s my duty do return favours. It’s not about me playing or not it’s about my team winning. If I get a chance I will do my best but for me team is important,” Tahir tweeted after the last game.
Can Dhoni include Tahir in the playing XI against DC? Unlikely, as the there is little space to manoeuvre around the four overseas professionals in the XI even though Faf du Plessis’ recent form( last three innings scores are 17, 8 and 0) is worrying for Dhoni, who heavily relies on the South African opener. With 18 wickets, his South African teammate Kagiso Rabada is in phenomenal form and delivering the goods for Delhi, sporting the Purple Cap.
Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Shreyas Iyer (captain), 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Alex Carey (wicket-keeper), 7 Axar Patel, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Tushar Deshpande, 11 Anrich NortjeChennai Super Kings: 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Sam Curran, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni (captain, wicket-keeper), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Dwayne Bravo, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Shardul Thakur, 11 Karn Sharma
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