It’s been an epic start to this season’s IPL playoffs! The Chennai Super Kings were defeated on their home turf in the first qualifier, and Delhi avoided elimination by the skin of their teeth after Hyderabad made a miraculous comeback with the ball which saw them fall just short of victory. With a spot in the 2019 IPL final up for grabs, which team will be joining the Mumbai Indians in Hyderabad on Sunday?
Chennai Super Kings
Another year, another playoffs appearance for one of the IPL giants that is the Chennai Super Kings. It’s stunning to think that this CSK outfit hasn’t even been at their very-best in 2019, yet they managed to get the double-chance in the playoffs and could still potentially find themselves aiming for a fourth IPL title. Continuing to persist with the struggling-Shane Watson whose average has now dropped below 18 (17.86) for the season, his spot in the team is no longer guaranteed. The fact that Kedar Jadhav has been ruled out of the playoffs due to injury could see Watson continue to keep his spot though, albeit without a lot of confidence. A 96-run onslaught from Faf du Plessis in Mohali a couple games ago should give Chennai some confidence at the top of their order, Suresh Raina had also posted back-to-back fifties before being cheaply dismissed in the first qualifier against Mumbai. In his only two appearances in this year’s IPL, Murali Vijay has scored 38 & 26 with the bat and should realistically be opening the batting ahead of Watson at the moment.
An unbeaten 42 from Ambati Rayudu in the first qualifier wasn’t enough to elevate CSK’s total to a competitive one, even MS Dhoni’s late onslaught featuring three sixes left them well-short. Chennai got a taste of their own medicine, they were tied down by Mumbai’s spinners which left them too much to do towards the backend of the innings. They will once again rely on their spinners to get them over the line in Vizag, although the surface suggests that Dwayne Bravo could also play a pretty big part given the slowness of the wicket after the first ten overs. Proteas veteran Imran Tahir finds himself just two wickets behind the current purple cap leader Kagiso Rabada with 25, Tahir has been both economical & influential with his leg-breaks for CSK this season. Both Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh also have that element of surprise to their game, it’s going to be an intriguing-battle between both them and Delhi’s batsmen.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Delhi Capitals got the job done. What looked to be a comfortable-victory for Ricky Ponting’s men quickly turned into chaos as wickets started to tumble just as they were about to reach the final hurdle. After spending some time in the wilderness this season, Prithvi Shaw exploded onto the scene with a mouth-watering half century where everything he touched turned to gold. The 19-year-old stepped up big time for Delhi and got them to 3-87 before being dismissed. Another man who was sensational on the night was Rishabh Pant, the 21-year-old’s ball-striking was electric as he quickly ruled out any sort of upset with his quick-fire 49 striking at 233.33. In the end it got a bit too close for comfort, all that matters is they’re in the second qualifier tomorrow evening. The Capitals have a couple of selection decisions to make ahead of this match, one of them being Colin Munro. The Kiwi’s struggles against spin could see Colin Ingram return to the playing XI, however Munro is extremely-damaging on his day.
Two of their more impressive performers with the bat this season, Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer have been kept relatively quiet in the past couple of matches. The pair will need to contribute something significant tomorrow if the Capitals are to progress further in the tournament. A veteran of the IPL and Indian cricket in general, leg-spinner Amit Mishra is quickly-becoming the Capitals most important bowler in the team. His economy has been simply-outstanding in Delhi’s last three matches conceding fewer than 20 runs against Chennai, Rajasthan and Hyderabad. It certainly helps that Mishra is a genuine wicket-taker as well, but it was Windies all-rounder Keemo Paul with his 3/32 who managed to break through the Sunrisers last night. Pace off the ball seemed to be the theme of the day which would explain Trent Boult’s expensive 1/37 off three overs. Gangly right-armer Ishant Sharma was once again superb with the ball in hand, the 30-year-old producing bowling figures of 3/38 & 2/34 in his past two outings. This isn’t going to be an easy game for Chennai, Delhi are the new kids on the block!
Top 4 fantasy picks – Chennai Super Kings
- Imran Tahir
- Murali Vijay
- Suresh Raina
- Harbhajan Singh
Wildcard pick – Dwayne Bravo
Top 4 fantasy picks – Delhi Capitals
- Amit Mishra
- Shreyas Iyer
- Rishabh Pant
- Prithvi Shaw
Wildcard pick – Sherfane Rutherford
Chennai Super Kings (possible) – 1. Faf du Plessis 2. Shane Watson 3. Murali Vijay 4. Suresh Raina 5. Ambati Rayudu 6. MS Dhoni (c & wk) 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Dwayne Bravo 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 Munro/Colin Ingram 6. Sherfane Rutherford 7. Axar Patel 8. Keemo Paul 9. Amit Mishra 10. Trent Boult 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.