Their stuttering campaign back on the rails under new skipper Shreyas Iyer, a resurgent Delhi Daredevils will play table-toppers Chennai Super Kings in a crucial Indian Premier League match on Monday in Pune. While Delhi would fight for survival, CSK would be equally keen to get back to winning ways after losing by eight wickets to Mumbai Indians in their adopted home ground in Pune on Saturday.
The Daredevils, who were struggling with Gautam Gambhir at the helm, found the elusive winning formula in their previous game when they comprehensively defeated formidable Kolkata Knight Riders at home.
Ricky Ponting-coached Delhi, now at the bottom of the table with just two wins out of seven games, however, need to continue their winning spree to keep themselves in the hunt for the playoffs.
CSK, on the other hand, are still on top on the points table but their confidence suffered a blow last night against another struggling outfit in defending champions Mumbai Indians. It would still be an uphill ask for the Daredevils to beat CSK at their adopted home - the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium but they cannot afford to lose.
Among other things, the Delhi outfit would hope that skipper Iyer continues to lead from the front as he did with a match-winning 93 against KKR. Besides Iyer, other batsmen like opener Prithvi Shaw, Rishab Pant and all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Colin Munro too will have to play their part to perfection.
Australian Maxwell has been getting starts but is unable to convert them into big scores. It would interesting to see whether the Daredevils again leave out Gambhir, who is out of form and did not figure in the playing eleven against KKR, tomorrow.
Delhi's varied bowling stock too clicked in the last match and if the star-studded CSK batting line-up has to be checked, the visitors will have to bowl out of their skin.
On the other hand, returning to the IPL after serving a two-year suspension, CSK has been the team to look out for this season. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is back among runs with his traditional late flourish while in-form Ambati Rayadu, Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo are also capable of making a mockery of the Delhi bowling attack.
The pleasing part for coach Stephen Fleming is that Suresh Raina has finally found his touch with an unbeaten 75 in a losing cause last night. With Sam Billings and Ravindra Jadeja in the side, CSK have depth in their batting.
But CSK bowlers were hammered by Mumbai Indians and will need to regroup and come strong against Daredevils. Pacer Shardul Thakur needs to quickly get over from the mauling he received at the hands of Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma yesterday alongside leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
To make matters worse for CSK, Deepak Chahar, who could not complete his third over in the game, has been ruled out for a few weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury.
On the spin front, veteran Harbhajan Singh will be crucial to choke up runs in the middle overs
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf Du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayadu, Deepak Chahar, K M Asif, Kanish Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshtiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, David Willy.
Delhi Daredevils: Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett, Junior Dala.
Match starts at 8 PM.
(With PTI Inputs)