Dubai: MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings will lock horns with Rishabh Pant’s Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 1 of the IPL 2021, at Dubai International Stadium, here Sunday. While Chennai Super Kings will be looking for their fourth IPL title, Delhi Capitals are eyeing their maiden crown.
Three-time champions CSK, who finished the league stage at second spot with 18 points from 14 matches, are coming to Qualifier 1 with three back-to-back losses. On the other hand, Delhi capitals, who accumulated 20 points from 14 matches and finished the league stage as table toppers, suffered a crushing seven-wicket defeat in their last group league game against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The winner of the first IPL Qualifier between CSK and DC will move straight to the final and the losing side will get another chance in Qualifier 2.
A look at the strengths and weaknesses of both the teams:
Strength: Delhi’s strength has been their bowling attack in the previous two seasons of IPL. The fast bowling trio of Avesh Khan (22 wickets), Kagiso Rabada (13 wickets), Anrich Nortje (9 wickets) have been sensational with the ball in IPL 2021 too. Apart from pacers, Axar Patel (15 wickets) and Ravichandran Ashwin (5 wickets) have also done well and picked crucial wickets for the team.
In batting, openers Shikhar Dhawan (544 runs) and Prithvi Shaw (401 runs) have been the top performers for Delhi Capitals.
Weakness: The middle-order batting featuring Rishabh Pant (362 runs), Shimron Hetmyer (188 runs), and Shreyas Iyer (144 runs) have been very inconsistent this season. The trio have shown flashes of brilliance but failed to capitalise on that and score big for the te’m.
Marcus Stoinis’ absence due to injury is also affecting them in finishing big in death overs. Delhi is quite a young side and they usually field well but they were awful in that department in the clash against RCB and it could cost them dearly in Qualifier 1.
Chennai Super Kings
Strength: Openers Faf du Plessis (546 runs) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (533) along with Moeen Ali (304 runs and 5 wickets), Ravindra Jadeja (227 runs) have done exceedingly well for CSK in batting. In bowling, Deepak Chahar (13 wickets), Shardul Thakur (18 wickets ), Dwayne Bravo (12 wickets) have been the top performers for CSK this season.
CSK have a successful and sharp skipper in Mahendra Singh Dhoni and they also have the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, and Faf du Plessis with plenty of international cricket experience. The ability to control phases and handle pressure situations that comes with experience could be a deciding factor in Qualifier 1.
Weakness: Like Delhi, Chennai Super Kings also have the same middle-order batting issues. The likes of MS Dhoni (96 runs in 14 games), Suresh Raina (160 in 12 games), and Ambati Rayudu (256 runs in 14 matches) have not been able to perform well with the bat. These experienced campaigners will have to put their hand up for CSK in the crucial game.
CSK are coming to Qualifier 1 with three back-to-back losses and it must have put a dent in their confidence ahead of the important clash.
In the two meetings between the sides in the league stage this season, DC have beaten CSK on both occasions. Notably, DC had also beaten CSK twice in the IPL 2020 season.