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IPL Qualifier 1 Preview: Experienced CSK maintains lead over DC

The old Chennai Super Kings players, with an uncanny ability to own the big stage at the right time, will start as favorites against a solid Delhi Capitals line-up led by the ‘young pretender’. Rishabh Pant Sunday promises to be the first exciting IPL qualifier here.

The Capitals were the best team in the league and their 20-point finish on the group stage was a sign of their consistent performance, which did not diminish as a result of the spoils. COVID-19 forced pause.

Similarly, CSK are now back in the familiar setting of play-off rounds, something they have done 11 out of 12 times, although losing three matches on the bounce doesn’t make their almighty captain happy. Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

DC, on the other hand, suffered a setback in their last group league match against Royal Challengers Bangalore by hitting a six off the last ball of Kona Bharat. It didn’t change his pole position, but it did enough to shake him with his stunner.

CSK, over the years, have been in the last eight times and won on three occasions which speaks volumes about the team’s ability to step up its game when it is needed the most.

This is the reason why CSK is not one of those franchises that brings in dozens of new talent like other franchises. Ruturaj Gaikwad is an exception as he can be called a pure CSK product after more than a decade.

Dhoni has a simple cricketing philosophy – relying on tried and tested individuals who are battle-hardened and thus have always liked Ravindra Jadejahandjob Ambati Rayuduhandjob Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis.

These are players who have been there and done that. Those who can control the stages and conquer pressure situations that often do not result in victory.

Add Josh Hazlewood or Moeen Ali, who is also an international regular in that mix and the former India captain knows what kind of combination to keep him in the park.

As much is said about team effort, no one knows more than Dhoni that T20 is perhaps a form of cricket, where individuals win matches.

Dhoni knows that even though his batting form (96 runs in 14 matches) has deserted him years ago (since 2015-16) and IPL legends like Raina (160 in 12 matches) a blur of his ever-destructive self. There is a shadow, yet it is Gaikwad (533 runs) and du Plessis (546) who have not given solid starts more often and Jadeja (227 runs) is providing the final flourish.

Similarly, Shardul Thakur (18 wickets in 14 matches) has conceded runs at an expensive economy rate of 8.57 but still the successes are significant. No one knows more than Dwayne Bravo (12 wickets) how batsmen can be fooled by changing the speed of their balls at death.

Hazlewood hasn’t found form but Dhoni has a lot of patience in the players he believes in and is relying on that devastating first spell from the Aussie which can wreak havoc.

It could be against Delhi Capitals, as despite 10 wins their batting hasn’t exactly inspired the highest level of confidence. Prithvi Shaw (401 runs) and Shikhar Dhawan (544 runs) have started their share, but in the UAE leg, they haven’t dominated at all.

Captain Pant (362 runs) has done well Marcus Stoinis‘ Absence due to injury hit his balance as he lacks a big-hitter at Death Save Shimron Hetmyer.

DC’s strength has been their bowling attack- Avesh Khan (22 wickets), Akshar Patel (15 wickets), Kagiso Rabada (13 wickets) and Enrique Nortje, who has taken nine wickets but an economy rate of 5.59 in six matches.

DC’s bowling attack has been right on the money without going to the cleaners but Pant will hope that the rule of average does not hold them in place and Nortje and Rabada are able to trouble Gaikwad with short deliveries, the weak point of the Maharashtra batsman. Used to be.

But yes, Dhoni will also admit that his last season for CSK along with Raina and Rayudu Willow would like to make some tangible contributions.

Even the captain needs to put his hand up as he is no longer able to handle the raw pace.


Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur. R Sai Kishore, Moeen Ali, K Gautam, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagat Verma, C Hari Nishant.

DC: Rishabh Pant (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Ripple Patel, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimrom Hetmyer, Shreyas Iyerhandjob Steve Smithhandjob Amit Mishra, Enrique Nortje, Avesh Khan, Ben Dwarshuis, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Kulwant Khejroliya, Lukman Meriwala, Praveen Dubey, Tom Curran, Umesh Yadav, Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav, Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sam Billings and Vishnu Vinod.

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