MS Dhoni summed up Chennai Super Kings’ situation in typical fashion after the loss to Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier. CSK’s around-the-wicket route now has a major hurdle in the form of a resurgent Delhi Capitals in the second qualifier on Friday (May 10). The winner of this game will play Mumbai Indians for the title on Sunday.
It’s the success of the IPL that three teams with 18 points each in the league stage are the ones that are standing, with two games left in the tournament.
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Friday’s clash in Visakhapatnam will be one between youth and veterans. Delhi’s rise has been possible because of their faith in youngsters. Chennai have banked on experience over the last two years, with success. Delhi have never been in an IPL final. In fact, their win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator was their first victory in play-offs. Chennai have been in the final seven times, and won it thrice.
Does that mean CSK have an edge? Not really, for Delhi have form by their side. They go into game having won their last two matches, including one in the venue of the second qualifier. Chennai have lost their last two matches, including one at home that would have dented their confidence.
Yet, CSK would be confident facing Delhi, for they beat them twice in the league stage. The second victory – by 80 runs – dented Delhi’s net run-rate and pushed them down in the table.
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Where the sides differ is their areas of strength in batting. CSK have struggled at the top, with Shane Watson in terrible form, and Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina inconsistent. Their batting has almost always looked up to Dhoni to do the job. Delhi are top heavy, with Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer in fine form while Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant have made timely contributions, like in the eliminator.