Chennai Super Kings would clearly hold all the aces as they take on Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League season 8 clash at Raipur on Tuesday. With 8 wins and four losses from 12 matches, Chennai find themselves firmly perched at the top of the points table, a spot that had earlier been occupied by Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders. Delhi, on the other hand, are no longer in contention for a place in the playoffs, having tasted eight defeat in 12 games. It seems like a far-fetched thought that the team placed second from the bottom, can pick themselves up against Chennai.
Match: Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils, 49th T20 at Raipur
Time: Match begins at 8 PM IST | 4:30 GMT
In their last match, Chennai took revenge for their earlier loss against Rajasthan Royals by defeating the 2008 champions in a clinical showing. They have match-winners in both the batting and bowling department, and will be confident of adding to their points tally. Brendon McCullum has been terrific for them at the start of the order, and Chennai would be looking for more runs from him. At the same time, his opening partner Dwayne Smith's form has taken a tumble. He gets a good chance to get back among the runs against a weak opponent. The middle order hasn't always fired so the likes of Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis will be looking forward to this match.
Chennai's bowling has been equally crucial to their success. Ashish Nehra has led the way with some match-winning efforts, while Mohit Sharma has proved to be the perfect foil for him. They have always been blessed to have Dwayne Bravo around, who mixes up things nicely. Till a while back, Ravindra Jadeja was being seen as a weak link, but that too has changed. In the last match against Rajasthan, the left-arm spinner delivered a rock-star performance. Ravichandran Ashwin, who was returning from injury was not needed to bowl in the last match, but his presence is a plus for sure.
Delhi, in contrast, have not found their groove, and now it is too late for them to make an impact. Yuvraj Singh, who was the most expensive buy in the auction, has let the side down big time, so have other big names in the batting department, like Quinton de Kock and Angelo Mathews. Skipper JP Duminy has been slightly more consistent, but he too hasn't done enough as well. Shreyas Iyer has been the team's best performer at the top of the order, but they needed more out of Mayank Agarwal.
Delhi's bowling has performed better than their batting, but they haven't put up any stellar shows. Zaheer Khan has been decent since coming back from injury. Nathan Coulter-Nile has been one bowler, who has seriously made an impression. Imran Tahir kicked off the tournament on a confident note, but has lost sting as the matches have progressed, and Amit Mishra has been strictly okay. Both on paper, and on current form, Delhi do not stand a great chance.
--By A Cricket Analyst