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.
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