Over the years, Chennai Super Kings have gotten the better of Delhi Daredevils with ease. In fact, Delhi haven’t beaten Chennai in the last five meetings between the two sides. Nothing much has changed this season. In the last encounter between the teams, Delhi were shot out for a paltry 84 chasing 178. Overall as well, Delhi have struggled again this season. So far, they have tasted success in only two out of six matches. Chennai, on the other hand, have won every game apart from being thrashed by Kings XI Punjab. As such, they would be clear favourites when they take on Delhi.
One of the main reasons why Chennai have been fantastic this season as well has been because their openers have been in stupendous form. Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum have given the side some excellent starts in most games. Importantly, either one of them or both have carried on from starts and have made significant scores. As a result, Chennai have rarely been under pressure either while batting first or chasing a score. So good have they been at the top that the lower order has rarely got to bat, and even Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni haven’t been put under any kind of pressure.
Chennai’s bowling has also been top class in most games. Apart from the clash against Kings XI Punjab when they were blasted to all parts of the ground by Glenn Maxwell, they have been successful against all other teams. Ben Hilfenhaus has got early wickets in most matches, and he has been very well supported by Mohit Sharma. Ravichandran Ashwin didn’t get his act right against Punjab, but since he has only improved with every game. Ravindra Jadeja has done a good all-round job when needed.
Delhi’s troubles have been mainly because the star names in the batting line-up haven’t fired. Kevin Pietersen and Dinesh Karthik were two of the biggest buys at this year’s auction, but neither has lived up to expectations. KP was injured for the initial few matches. However, even in the games that he has been available, he hasn’t looked completely fit. The skipper will need to lead from the front for he is the team’s most dangerous batsman. As for Karthik, he got a half-century against KKR, but hasn’t done anything of note against the others.
Bowling is not Delhi’s strongest suit, but they need to show some spunk in that department as well. Mohammed Shami has been their best bowler by some distance, but even he hasn’t tasted the level of success desired. The others just haven’t looked anywhere near the part. Delhi will need to eke out better efforts from the likes of Wayne Parnell, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jaydev Unadkat and Rahul Sharma. Most of them have not proved to be expensive, but they haven’t grabbed many wickets either. Of course, it would help if their batsmen give them something better to bowl at.
--By A Cricket Analyst