Wounded Delhi Daredevils would be eager to draw inspiration from their own performances in the league stages for a spot in the final of the ongoing Indian Premier League when they take on a rejuvenated Chennai Super Kings in the second qualifying match on Friday. Having topped the table with 11 wins out of 16 matches at the league stage, the Daredevils were humbled by Kolkata Knight Riders in the first qualifier in Pune on Tuesday.
The high-flying Daredevils failed to live up to their expectations with a string of mediocre performances in their previous game against KKR and tomorrow is their last chance to redeem their reputation of being the most consistent side of the IPL V so far. On the other hand, defending champions Chennai, despite their ordinary performances in the league stages, peaked just at the right time. They recovered from an impossible situation to keep alive their chances of winning a hat-trick titles alive.
With skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who smashed a whirlwind 20-ball 51 against Mumbai Indians last night to help his team make the second qualifier, returning to form in style, the Daredevils might have to bring in some fresh game plan to arrest the marauding Chennai outfit.
While Chennai would be hoping for a similar performance, in what could be considered as a semifinal against the Daredevils tomorrow, Virender Sehwag`s men would be relying heavily on their batting. The Delhi side would be depending on their strong batting lineup, consisting of the likes of Sehwag, David Warner, Mahela Jayawardane, Ross Taylor and Naman Ojha, to post a formidable total on the board, their bowling department heavily relies on pace trio of Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan.
But comer tomorrow, Delhi would certainly have to be cautious against a team that had, in past, regrouped into a cohesive team during crunch games. The Super Kings, who bring out their best when they are pushed to the wall, are expected to come hard at the Daredevils. Although as compared to the Daredevils, the Super Kings were far from impressive during the league stages with eight wins and a no result from 16 games, there collective performance has been good in the tournament so far.
The batting looks good with Michael Hussey, Dhoni, S Badrinath, Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay making it a formidable lineup. With Hussey and Ben Hilfenhaus having contributed extensively with the bat and ball in last seven matches or so, Chennai would hope them to repeat the show tomorrow at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk. Chennai`s spin department will be lead by Ravichandran Ashwin in the company of Shahdab Jakati and Ravindra Jadeja.
Ashwin and Jadeja have been among wickets, while Albie Morkel, Hilfenhaus and Dwayne Bravo also contributed to the team`s success. In all counts, these five bowlers have the ability to wreck any strong combination and dislodge the middle order. Going by the variety in their bowling and presence of all-rounders -- Bravo, Jadeja and Morkel in the team, the Super Kings, if they click in unison, could be unstoppable.
The Super Kings will also take heart from the fact that in the history of the championship so far, they have never been the table toppers but always made it to the top four before bagging the title twice in four seasons. With both the teams filled with power performers, the spectators can expect a keen battle tomorrow.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c and wk), Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Srikkanth Anirudha, DWayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ben Hilfenhaus, Shadab Jakati, Doug Bollinger, Francois du Plessis, George Bailey, Scott Styris, Suraj Randiv, Abhinav Mukund, G Vignesh, Joginder Sharma, Kuthethur Vasudevadas, Subramaniam Badrinath, Sudeep Tyagi, Yo Mahesh and Wriddhiman Saha.
Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (Capt), Kevin Pietersen, Mahela Jayawardene, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Puneet Bisht, Robin Bist, Naman Ojha (wk), Shahbaz Nadeem, Venugopal Rao, Vikas Mishra, Yogesh Nagar, Zafir Patel, Sunny Gupta, Tejashwi Yadav, Aavishkar Salvi, Kuldeep Raval, Manpreet Juneja, Pawan Negi, Prashant Naik, Aaron Finch, Andre Russell, Doug Bracewell, Glenn Maxwell, Gulam Bodi, Morne Morkel, Roelf van der Merwe.