Preview: Confident Delhi start as favorites against defending champs Chennai
The Eliminator of IPL 2019 between the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad saw a pulsating contest at Visakhapatnam that Delhi eventually won in the final moments of the game. The stage is now correctly set for a cracking match between Delhi and defending champions Chennai Super Kings for Qualifier 2 on Friday at the same venue.
Delhi will be roaring with confidence after a superb show and will be eager to make it to their first ever IPL final in history. Chennai has a 3-2 record in their favor in the last five matches between the two teams. And both sides won one game each against the other in IPL 2019. It appears likely, though, that Delhi will get past a struggling Chennai Super Kings in this game.
Under a young captain Shreyas Iyer, Delhi looks fresh and well-balanced. With opener Prithwi Shaw finally coming good in the last match with an assured 56, their top-order now looks solid with Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer giving him able company.
Delhi’s biggest X-Factor is having Rishabh Pant in the middle-order. The young and aggressive wicket-keeper batsman showed his mettle once again in the Eliminator with a swashbuckling 49 off 21 balls. Pant is striking it clean and taking games away from the opposition – his strike-rate is 163.83 this season. He will undoubtedly be the biggest threat to Chennai.
Delhi’s bowling is sorted as well with Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra and Keemo Paul all doing an excellent job as a unit.
Chennai, meanwhile, are struggling big time and it feels like their wheels have come off at just the wrong time. Their top-order, which boasts of Shane Watson, Faf Du Plesis and Suresh Raina, has been inconsistent and has failed to put up any good scores in the PowerPlay overs which has hurt Chennai. The lack of form of Ambati Rayudu – 261 runs only in 15 matches – has been a big problem.
Now with Kedar Jadhav being ruled out due to injury, Chennai have lost a good finisher. The responsibility to bail Chennai out will once again lie on captain MS Dhoni’s robust shoulders. He has thumped 405 runs this season at a strike rate of close to 140 and Chennai would want him to be at his best for the all-important Qualifier 2.
Pitch conditions and Chennai vs Delhi Capitals Prediction:
The pitch at Visakhapatnam is expected to behave the same way it was during the Eliminator – it will be slow, will assist spinners and will be tough to bat on for the new batsman. The team batting first should post in the range of 150-160. But chasing might be tough on this pitch if the spinners find grip.
Regardless, Delhi Capitals, who have already played on this pitch in the previous game, start as favorites in this encounter. They have a more settled, in-form and balanced side and it would be a surprise if they do not dethrone Chennai Super Kings and reach their first ever IPL final.