Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings and Shreyas Iyer's Delhi Capitals are all geared up to face each other in a gruelling contest in the quest to face Mumbai Indians in final of Indian Premier League.
The domestic T20 league is at the business end and both the teams have been performing consistently well this season as they were the first two franchise this season to qualify for the playoffs.
Qualifier 2 demands player of both the teams to level up their games for the do or die contest. Delhi will enter the contest with a huge confidence boost after defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator, while on the other side Chennai will look to bounce back after receiving a hammering from Mumbai Indians in the Qualifier 1. The defending champions were not at their best when they clashed against Rohit Sharma's Mumbai and lost the match by six wickets after posting just 131/4 on the scoreboard.
What to expect from Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals in the Qualifier 2?
Chennai Super Kings
Like every year, CSK dominated the league in the group stage and were the first team to register their spot in the playoffs. The only negative aspect in their game this season was inconsistency in the batting department. Excluding Dhoni none of their batsmen has taken responsibility for the team. Senior players like Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis had one or two good games with the bat their inconsistency put pressure on the other batsman on the line-up.
The dynamic opening duo of Watson-Du Plessis will need to set up the platform for others against Delhi otherwise their ship might sink again. On the slow track of Vizag, CSK spinners will play a big role in the quest for the back to back to finals of the team. Veteran spinners Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir have done their job exceedingly well this season and the team will bank on these two to remove DC batsman early back to hut. Suresh Raina needs to get back to his glorious form because CSK desperately want someone to stick the team in the middle order.
For Delhi, the journey of this year's IPL has been special as they qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They changed their name this season and the tables have turned for DC, they were last on points table last year but Iyer’s team bounced back this year ended third after the group stage.
Collective effort from every player has played a huge role in DC success story this year. From Shikhar Dhawan to Rishabh Pant everyone has scored runs for them this year. With the ball, Kagiso Rabada was the leader of their attack before getting injured but now veteran Indian pacer Ishant Sharma has taken the responsibility to take early wickets for his team. Delhi batsmen will need to continue their good run against Chennai’s quality spin attack to seal their spot for their first ever IPL final.
Key battles to look out for
Rishabh Pant vs Imran Tahir
These two have been the MVPs of their respective teams this year and responsibility will lie on their shoulder in the clash between CSK and DC. Tahir is the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament right now with 23 scalps just two short of Kagiso Rabada who currently holds the Purple Cap. On the other hand, Pant has played many crucial knocks for his team and DC want him to finish the things for them.
The last when they both faced each other in group stage match Dhoni hammered Boult in last over of the match over the park. Boult gave 21 runs in that over, which was one of the prime reasons of CSK hold over the game. He will look to counter-attack the CSK skipper this time with his pace and bounce. While on the other hand, there are only a few bowlers who are able to contain MSD this season, so it will surely be a battle to look out for.
Shane Watson vs Ishant Sharma
It will be the battle between two ‘Veterans’ Ishant Sharma and Shane Watson. The right arm fast bowler has reinvented himself this year in the shortest format of the game. While we have not seen the hungry for runs Watson this year accept his 96-run innings against SRH. Chennai need Watson to show his muscle strength in the do or die match while Ishant will be the key man for Iyer to take some early wickets for his team.