The Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals will battle it out tomorrow evening at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium for top spot on the IPL points table. With both teams having already qualified for the playoffs, a winning-formula heading into the all-important final four is crucial. Surprisingly, the Super Kings have lost three out of their last five matches and don’t look as imposing as they once were earlier in this year’s IPL.
Chennai Super Kings
Resting players ahead of the ICC World Cup can be a huge benefit to players, especially the veterans who can no longer recover as quickly as the rest of the squad. From an IPL perspective, it can be extremely costly to a team when player rotations are decided upon which is exactly where Chennai stumbled in their last match against Mumbai. No shows from Ravindra Jadeja and skipper MS Dhoni due to ‘illness’ and Faf du Plessis left CSK stumped for answers. The batting line-up looked a lot thinner and Harbhajan’s costly last over left fans screaming “Jadeja!” Surely the Super Kings would have to bring back their star-trio in a top of the table clash? In all fairness to Chennai, the pitches prepared by the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium curators have been horrific to bat on in this year’s IPL. Sure, a handful of their batsmen haven’t had the best of tournaments with the bat, but these wickets aren’t doing them any favours either. Shane Watson’s 96 against Hyderabad a couple games ago will give them some form of belief that it is possible to score runs on this surface, albeit extremely difficult.
This three-game home stretch in Chennai before the playoffs should’ve seen the Super Kings runaway with top spot in the standings, it was a guaranteed three wins before they went down to the Mumbai Indians. Funnily enough, CSK still have the option to rest a couple players which sounds ludicrous given their patchy form in recent times, there’s definitely a downside if they go down that path though. Deepak Chahar has been the most effective bowler in the competition inside the powerplay this season, he’s picked up 15 wickets but hasn’t quite been at his dynamic-best in the second half of the tournament. Both Chahar and Imran Tahir appear to be CSK’s biggest trump cards with the ball, genuine wicket-takers are a rarity in this format making these two key components in the playing XI. Mitchell Santner would be extremely unlucky to miss out tomorrow, the Black Caps spinner produced impressive-figures of 2/13 off his full quota of overs.
Be honest, who would’ve predicted that Delhi would be sitting at the top of the points table almost 50 matches into this year’s tournament? I’ll stick my hand up and honestly say I wasn’t one of them, it’s been an extraordinary turnaround in fortunes for them in 2019. Maybe the change of names did the trick, clearly the Daredevils wasn’t doing it for them. Currently sitting on a three-match winning-streak, the Capitals have not only qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012, they’ve now been labelled as one of the favourites to take out this year’s IPL title. Not getting ahead of themselves, Delhi look to be just enjoying each & every match and the success that comes with it. Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Shreyas Iyer are the in-form batsmen in this Delhi outfit, both have featured regularly in the leading run-scorers for the competition in recent times. Dhawan is averaging 41 for his new side and has strung together three-consecutive fifties in the process, the man is on fire! Rishabh Pant hasn’t been at his destructive-best this season, but he’s certainly shown glimpses of his brilliance and is still remains Delhi’s biggest X factor in the side.
The Windies have brought plenty of Caribbean flavour to the 2019 IPL so far, Sherfane Rutherford is no exception. Like all Windies batsmen, Rutherford is a hard-hitting striker who attempts to hit the cover off the ball each & every swing. The 20-year-old’s 13-ball cameo which featured 1 four and 3 sixes well & truly gave Delhi the upper hand against the Royal Challengers. Their bowling this season has been equally as impressive led by the current 2019 IPL leading wicket-taker Kagiso Rabada, talk about impressive! The Proteas speedster has already bagged 25 wickets with two more group stage matches remaining, it’s been a phenomenal effort from Rabada and also Shreyas Iyer who has used the 23-year-old brilliantly throughout the tournament. Just to give you an idea of how dominant Rabada has been in the 2019 IPL, Delhi’s next-best bowler is Chris Morris with 12 wickets. Axar Patel and Amit Mishra are starting to combine well as the two spinners, while Ishant Sharma has avoided being dispatched this season going for a fairly economical 7.44 as the Capitals second seamer.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Chennai Super Kings
- Shane Watson
- Ambati Rayudu
- Deepak Chahar
- Imran Tahir
Wildcard pick – Ravindra Jadeja
Top 4 fantasy picks – Delhi Capitals
- Kagiso Rabada
- Shreyas Iyer
- Rishabh Pant
- Axar Patel
Wildcard pick – Amit Mishra
Chennai Super Kings (possible) – 1. Murali Vijay/Faf du Plessis 2. Shane Watson 3. Suresh Raina 4. Ambati Rayudu 5. Kedar Jadhav 6. MS Dhoni/Narayan Jagadeesan (wk) 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Dwayne Bravo/Mitchell Santner 9. Deepak Chahar 10. Harbhajan Singh 11. Imran Tahir.
Delhi Capitals (possible) – 1. Prithvi Shaw 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Shreyas Iyer © 4. Rishabh Pant (wk) 5. Colin Ingram 6. Sherfane Rutherford 7. Axar Patel 8. Sandeep Lamichhane/Chris Morris 9. Kagiso Rabada 10. Amit Mishra 11. Ishant Sharma.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.