Delhi Capitals' players celebrate fall of a wicket durin a match. Courtsey: Twitter
Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sport Reporter
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on Delhi Capitals in a mouth-watering top of the table clash of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Dubai Stadium on Monday.
Both Chennai and Delhi have already qualified for the playoffs, having procured 18 points with nine wins. But Chennai are perched at the summit due to better run rate.
What makes the encounter so intriguing is that both the teams will look finish on the top of the table
To avoid the jitters of going through grueling eliminator.
The team, which finishes on the top of the table will play in the first qualifier with the fourth-placed team.
The winner of the first qualifier will directly book a spot in the final of the tournament. In the second qualifier, the second and the third finishers will take on each other.
The winner of the second qualifier will play with the loser of the first qualifier in the eliminator. The winner of the eliminator will meet the winner of the first qualifier in the title showdown.
Chennai, who were defeated by a resilient Rajasthan Royals, will look to bounce back and get back to the winning ways. The loss is a wake-up call for Chennai, who had won four matches on a trot before losing the last game.
Despite posting a huge total of 189 runs, they failed to defend the target. Chennai, who were testing their bench strength, had brought in Australian all-rounder Sam Curran in place of West Indian Dwyane Bravo.
This was the second time, when Chennai had given a chance to Curran in the tournament. He failed to deliver on both the occasions.
Curran conceded 55 run in 4 overs. He had given a whopping 56 run against Kolkata Knight Riders in his first match of the IPL in this edition.
After Kolkata match, Chennai had dropped Curran and brought Bravo back into the fold, who picked up two wickets against a hapless Sunrisers Hyderabad.
It is pretty much certain that Bravo will come back into the squad for the match against Delhi as Chennai captain MS Dhoni will not leave anything to chance.
Bravo is the only player in the world, who has taken 500 or more wickets in T20 format, also scoring 10000 runs.
Bravo’s inclusion not only gives the captain more options in the bowling but also add strength to the batting in the death overs.
Chennai have a very deep batting line-up. Their opener Ruturaj Gaikwad is in stellar form.
He scored a century against Rajasthan in their last match. He has scored more than 500 runs in the tournament so far with three 50s and one century.
The other opener Faf du Plessis is also in good knack of form as he has also scored more than 460 runs so far with the help of four half-centuries.
Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina and Dhoni and Moeen Ali consolidate the middle-order while Ravindra Jadeja and Bravo can spur the run rate with big hits down the order.
The only problem Chennai are facing is Raina’s form.
But the left-handed batsman is a class act and needs just one big innings to return to the form.
Meanwhile, Delhi are brimming with the confidence and will look to extend their winning streak and go on the top of the table.
Delhi have one of the most potent bowling attack in the tourney. The pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are the most lethal combination in the IPL.
Nortje and Rabada clock the speed of 140km/hr on regular basis. Their toe-crusher yorkers and short balls can be a nightmare for any batsman irrespective of the conditions and pitch.
Rabada has gone wicket-less in the last two matches, but he has the ability to rip apart even the best batting line-up.
Moreover, they have been bolstered by the new finding of the tournament Avesh Khan.
Khan is in tremendous form and has bowled splendidly well in the last few matches. He was the architect of the Delhi's victory against Mumbai in the last match.
Khan returned with the figure of 3-15.
He along with Axar Patel ripped through the Mumbai’s batting as the shared six wickets between them before Shreyas Iyer played a gritty innings to steer them to a victory.
Delhi’s spin department is also one of the best as they have a combination of experience and youth in form of veteran campaigner Ravichandran Ashwin and young Patel.
With the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rishab Pant and Iyer, the top order looks very strong while Hetmyer and Ashwin can play big shots to propel the score in the death overs.
With both the teams looking to maintain their stranglehold on the top position, the match promises to be a mouth-watering clash.
The experience of three-time champion Chennai and the passion of Delhi, with a final berth at stakes, makes it an intriguing encounter. The winner of the first qualifier will directly book a berth in the final.
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