The contrast in their respective approach could not be more distinct, but there is no denying that Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals have been the standout teams of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign.
Both teams have collected eight wins apiece from 12 games and are the only ones so far to secure their play-off berths. Now, the two forces get ready to collide at M. A. Chidambaram International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday in a battle for ultimate supremacy.
Despite their early play-off qualification, there is still plenty at stake in Wednesday’s clash for both sides with the winner guaranteed a place in the Qualifier 1 which is the shortest route to the IPL final.
EXPERIENCE V YOUTH
No other team has quite left the same impression on the IPL as CSK have done over the years with the defending champions now securing their 10th play-off qualification in as many attempts. The three-time champions have always leaned on experience to succeed in the competition with their collection of veteran campaigners and that is exactly what they are doing in the 2019 edition.
Delhi, on the other hand, have gone the opposite route of youth after years of underperformance in the competition and it is a gambit which has paid off handsomely. Possessing a young Indian batting core at the heart of the team, Shreyas Iyer and his men have finally found the winning formula that has seen the franchise secure its first play-off qualification since 2012.
On one hand is a team led by 37-year-old MS Dhoni with veterans such as Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Shane Watson being their key performers. On the other side is a Delhi team led by 24-year-old Iyer with youngsters such as Rishabh Pant, Kagiso Rabada and Prithvi Shaw leading the line.
The methodologies of the two sides could not be starker, but the results have been pretty similar.
CSK AIM TO RECLAIM FORTRESS AGAINST AWAY KINGS DELHI
The Chepauk stadium at Chennai has been a near fortress for CSK in the IPL over the years and the 2019 edition has proved to be no different with Dhoni’s men winning the first five matches to be held in the venue.
However, their perfect home record was tarnished recently with Mumbai Indians inflicting a crushing 46-run defeat on the defending champions. With the first Qualifier also slated to take place at the Chepauk, Dhoni and his men will be eager to notch up a win on Wednesday to assure themselves of the home advantage in the crucial play-off clash.
Winning at home against Delhi will not be easy though given the excellent form Iyer and his men have shown on the road this year.
Only once have Delhi been beaten in an away clash in 2019 with the sole loss coming at Mohali against KXIP. They have emerged as victors in the five other clashes on the road this season and will want to keep up that excellent record before entering the play-off stage.
CSK skipper MS Dhoni missed the clash against Mumbai Indians because of a fever. The veteran wicketkeeper’s absence was dearly felt by the side in the comprehensive loss and they will be happy to have their talismanic leader back for Wednesday’s clash.
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c and wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir.
Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant, Colin Ingram, Sherfane Rutherford, Axar Patel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma.
As fans, watching the action is not the only thing to look forward to – IPL fantasy games mean you have the opportunity to get involved as well.
As the IPL’s official partner, Dream11 runs a daily contest for each game apart from the default format which is conducted per round.
Here, we focus on helping you navigate your way through the former.
Shikhar Dhawan – Delhi Capitals (10 credits)
A big reason for where Delhi are in the league table currently has been the form of Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the batting order.
The experienced opener had an indifferent start to his campaign upon his return to his hometown franchise, but things have finally started to click for him in recent matches.
Dhawan comes into the clash on the back of three-consecutive half-centuries which has taken his overall tournament tally to five. The southpaw is averaging 41 with the bat with a total of 451 runs and is on course to surpass his best ever IPL campaign in 2012 where he scored 569 runs.
Dhawan is equally effective against both pace and spin and that should hold him in good stead on the slower surface at Chennai.
Kagiso Rabada – Delhi Capitals (9.5 credits)
Though the pitch at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium might be a spinner’s paradise, Delhi pacer Kagiso Rabada gets our nod due to his sheer consistency across all types of pitches in the 2019 edition.
Despite playing his home matches at the sluggish Feroz Shah Kotla track at Delhi, the South African ace has still managed to find ways to pick up wickets at an incredible consistency.
Rabada continues to lead the IPL 2019 wicket-taking charts by some distance with 25 dismissals in 12 outings while going at less than eight runs an over. That he is picking up a wicket almost every 11 deliveries this year is reason alone to lead with him in any Fantasy line ups.
Mitchell Santner – Chennai Super Kings (8.5 credits)
After missing the entire 2018 edition due to a terrible knee injury, Mitchell Santner is finally showing why CSK placed such immense faith in his abilities.
The New Zealand all-rounder had to bide his time on the bench in the first-half of the campaign, but he has wasted no time in seizing his opportunity when it finally arrived.
His left-arm orthodox spin has fetched four wickets in as many games so far, but it is his economy-rate of just 6.71 which has been eye-catching. Santner was terrific in the last game against Mumbai where he picked up two wickets in his four overs while conceding just 13 runs and was unlucky to still end up on the losing side.
With the bat, the Kiwi has hardly had any opportunities but has delivered when called upon with his last-ball six to win the match against Rajasthan Royals being the biggest example.
Fewest sixes hit off a bowler in #IPL2019— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) April 25, 2019
6s - Bowler balls
0 - Stuart Binny 30
0 - Avesh Khan 18
0 - S Rutherford 12
1 - Vijay Shankar 43
2 - Mohd Nabi 95
2 - Mitchell Santner 61
3 - Ishant Sharma 180
3 - M Ashwin 151
MS Dhoni – Chennai Super Kings (9.5 credits)
India’s current and future wicketkeeping hopes go head-to-head with MS Dhoni and Rishabh Pant lining up on opposite sides. However, it is the veteran who pips Pant in our line up due to his advantage of playing in home conditions.
Dhoni and Pant have had almost similar campaigns with 314 and 341 runs respectively so far, but the former is averaging more than 104 with bat while the latter is going at 34.30.
Dhoni is simply the lifeline of CSK and his absence clearly showed in his side’s 46-run loss to Mumbai Indians. The Chennai skipper will be eager to finish the home stretch on a high so that a place in the Qualifier 1 which takes place at the Chepauk stadium can be secured.
His wicketkeeping abilities are second to none in the IPL and can be expected to fetch plenty more bonus Fantasy points as well.
CAPTAIN – MS Dhoni
VICE CAPTAIN – Shikhar Dhawan
Rahul had a disappointing 2018 in India colours with the Karnataka-born batsman having a dismal time on the tours of England and Australia. However, the 27-year-old has bounced back into form in the ongoing 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign for KXIP and has also found a place in India’s squad for the upcoming World Cup.
In 12 IPL innings this season, Rahul has managed to score 520 runs at an average of nearly 58 with the help of one ton and four half-centuries. Gayle, who is having an excellent individual campaign himself, believes that Rahul can be India’s best long-term batting mainstay after skipper Virat Kohli.
“KL is definitely one of the players that comes to my mind (when you talk about the current India players), I hope he produces the goods like Virat. After Virat, it should be him,” Gayle was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI).
“But it is not necessary for him to put himself under that kind of pressure, he needs to be himself, stay in his zone and try not to compete with anyone.
“You have a lot of talent in India, I could go on and on and most of them don’t even get the opportunity.”
Kings XI’s hopes of making the IPL play-offs took a big beating on Monday when they were handed a 45-run defeat by Sunrisers Hyderabad. Ravi Ashwin and his men are now in sixth spot in the table with two games to play but Gayle is still confident of the side’s chances of progressing to the final four.
“Two years I have been here (KXIP) and it has been phenomenal. I love the Punjab style. I am getting to work with a great bunch of people and hopefully we can do something special for the franchise. The aim is get to the play-offs and take it from there,” the ‘Universe Boss’ stated.
Gayle and Rahul will next be in action for KXIP on Friday when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders in a crunch clash.