CSK, DD
© AFP

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have gone so ahead that Delhi Daredevils (DD) do not even have a chance to be party spoilers. If Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) win their next game by a good margin and if DD manage to get the better of CSK comfortably, then at most CSK run the risk of not finishing in the top 2. CSK will eye at top 2 finish in the league stage while DD will at least eye a double-digit number in the points table when the sides will clash in Match 52 of VIVO IPL 2018, at Feroz Shah Kotla.

CSK’s consistency has been remarkable and they beat table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) twice in the tournament. SRH have the best bowling attack and CSK are the only side to have successfully triumphed over it.

A chunk of CSK’s success has been their explosive batting. Ambati Rayudu (435 runs at 48.63) and Shane Watson have been at their destructive best at the top, whereas, MS Dhoni (413 runs at 103.23) has managed to turn back the clock with his consistent big hitting and finishes.

However, CSK have not bowled as well as they would have liked to. Shardul Thakur has bowled well in patches and Dwayne Bravo has been inconsistent. Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadaja have been tight off late and they have a decent back-up in Imran Tahir and Karn Sharma.

DD, on the other hand, continue to be below par and despite their good batting shows wins have eluded them. They have a lot of pride to play for. In the likes of Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw and Abhishek Sharma, DD have phenomenal young talent. These youngsters have raised the bar but somehow could not manage to register consistent wins for the franchise.

Sandeep Lamichhane made his IPL debut last week and impressed against the explosive likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. DD have a good base set for the seasons to follow and a win against CSK be some take away from their otherwise disastrous campaign.

Likely XIs

Delhi Daredevils Likely XI: Prithvi Shaw, Jason Roy, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Abhishek Sharma, Dan Christian/Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Amit Mishra, Trent Boult, Sandeep Lamichhane, Junior Dala/Avesh Khan.

Chennai Super Kings Likely XI: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Harbhajan Singh, Lungi Ngidi/Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar.

Predictions:

Chennai are clear favourites for this contest and will be expected to notch up another win. The strength for both the sides lie in their batting. CSK have a head to head advantage of 12-5. The other interesting contest to watch will be the contest of two astute brains — Ricky Ponting and Stephen Fleming — coaches of DD and CSK respectively. Both these men have played each other in several trans-Tasman rivalries across late 90s and 2000s.