With Mumbai Indians waiting in Hyderabad for the Final of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL), the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Capitals (DC) will battle it out in the Qualifier 2 on Friday (midnight AEST) in Visakhapatnam for a chance to join them. While CSK were forced to take the tour to Vizag after a loss to MI in the first qualifier, DC were too strong for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator at the same venue.
CSK won both the matches played during the regular season and have won ten of the last 12 H2H matches. Dwayne Bravo (3/33) and Shane Watson (44 off 26 balls) helped CSK to a six-wicket win in Delhi, while Suresh Raina (59 off 37), MS Dhoni (44* off 22) and Imran Tahir (4/12) bulldozed them to an 80-run win in Chennai.
Their H2H record notwithstanding, CSK will be worried about their late season dip in form. They have lost five of their last seven matches and most of the losses have been due to batting inefficiencies. Watson and Raina continue to frustrate at the top with their inconsistencies, making Dhoni’s runs (405, SR 138.69) that much more vital.
CSK will continue to rely on their spinners, who have taken more than 60% of their team’s wickets (55 of 90). Imran Tahir (23 wickets, ER 6.62) should enjoy the conditions in Vizag, but it will boil down to how well their batsmen can step up.
After four failed attempts to post a playoff win, DC stormed to their first win in emphatic fashion. With Rishabh Pant (450 runs, SR 163.63) showing great maturity in closing out games, DC’s top order led by Shikhar Dhawan (503) and Shreyas Iyer (450) looks even more destructive.
The absence of ‘Purple Cap’ holder Kagiso Rabada (25) has not been felt, as Ishant Sharma (12 wickets) and Amit Mishra (10 wickets, ER 6.91) have risen to the occasion. Probably for the first time in the franchise history, DC look to have covered all the bases.
Rishabh Pant has shown great ability to mix his big shots (35x4, 26x6) with consistency (Avg. 37.50) this season. More often than not, he has finished the games for DC and that augurs well for their chances.
Amit Mishra is a seasoned campaigner, who should enjoy bowling in these conditions. Like his spell of 4-0-16-1 against SRH at this venue showed, the wily leg-spinner can be a handful.
Imran Tahir has been the master of consistency this season. With their title chances on the line, the leg-spinner will look to add to his 23 wickets. A chance to overtake Rabada (25) is also up for grabs!
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