Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings are the only two teams in the IPL to have made the semi-finals in 2008 as well as 2009. Both of these teams are well-balanced and have the potential to lift the cup this year.
The Men in Red have done well in the league stage of both the IPL seasons but they collapsed at the semi-final stage each time. With Sehwag stepping down as Captain, Gambhir was appointed as the skipper in the off-season last year.
The Daredevils played high quality cricket in South Africa, aided greatly by the bowling of Dirk Nannes and Ashish Nehra. But the batting effort was questionable last year. Sehwag and Gambhir kept misfiring all season, though that was compensated for in some measure by the good batting of AB de Villers, Tilekratne Dilshan and Dinesh Karthik. The batting will have more or less the same shape this year, but with South African bowler Wayne Parnell bought for $610,000 at the auction, the pace attack of the Delhi boys will have a somewhat different look.
Gambhir and Sehwag will look to come back fighting this year for their team. In some matches last year, Sehwag batted at No.4 and Dilshan was asked to open. It looks unlikely that that strategy will be repeated this year.
The most important players in the batting list are AB de Villers, TM Dilshan, Dinesh Karthik, but let’s not forget Australian David Warner. Warner recently scored the third fastest fifty in T20 and is in superb form. He will surely provide considerable impetus to the Daredevils.
Two of the best all-rounders on show in the Champions League held in India last year, Moses Henriques and Andrew McDonald are expected to deliver both with the bat and the ball. Both of these players have been playing well on the domestic circuit and look to be in good nick.
Ashish Nehra, Dirk Nannes, Wayne Parnell and Amit Mishra will form the expected bowling lineup. Both Nehra and Nannes are doing well for their respective countries and they will be the trump cards for the Men in Red.
- AB de Villiers, Pradeep Sangwan, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra, Kedar Jadhav, Moises Henriques, Wayne Parnell, Sarandeep Singh, Shashi Ranjan, Sarabjeet Ladda, Ashish Nehra, Aavishkar Salvi, Mithun Manhas, David Warner, Andrew McDonald, Dirk Nannes, Farveez Maharoof, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik, Rajat Bhatia, Joginder Singh
KEY PLAYERS: Virender Sehwag , Gautam Gambhir , Moses Henriques, Andrew McDonald, Dirk Nannes.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
Chennai Super Kings, the team owned by Indian Cement and captained by India’s highest-earning cricketer MS Dhoni, have a lot going for them. The Super Kings were the runners-up of the 2008 IPL, but in 2009 were dominated by RCB in the semi finals.
The most successful player for the Super Kings has been the retired Australian Matthew Hayden, who was the top scorer last season. He is the most important player in this side on whose broad shoulders will rest most of Dhoni’s and Chennai’s hopes.
One can never ignore Mr.Cricket Micheal Hussey who will try to fulfil his role as the ‘finisher’. A key player for this team, Micheal Hussey has been in fine form in International Cricket.
The owners of the CSK team tried to get the hottest buy going around these days, Kieron Pollard, at this year’s auction, but were unsuccessful in their efforts. Eventually they had to settle for South African Justin Kemp and Sri Lankan Thissara Perera.
The Chennai batting is power-packed with Raina, Dhoni himself, Badrinath, Hayden, Hussey and Justin Kemp all capable of sending the ball over the boundary with regularity.
The bowling attack needs no introduction. South African great Makhaya Ntini will lead the attack and will have Sudeep Tyagi, Manpreet Gony and Thissara Perera for support.The spin attack has the great experience of Muttiah Muralidharan and partnering him will be Ravichandra Ashwin and Shadab Jakati who did wonders for the CSK last year.
Much will be expected from the all-rounders Jacob Oram and South African Albie Morkel. Both are important T20 Players and will have a major role with bat and ball.
There are a lot of proficient foreign players in the side. Hayden, Hussey, Bailey, Perera, Ntini, Kemp , Morkel, Oram, Thilan Thushara are all great T20 players. But as the rule goes, only 4 of these can play in the final 11, so it will be interesting to see who sits out.
- M Muralitharan, M Vijay, Manpreet Gony, Sudeep Tyagi, Shadab Jakati, R Ashwin, K B Arun Karthik, Justin Kemp, Thisara Perera, Hemang Badani, L Balaji, S Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Albie Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Jacob Oram, Thilan Thushara, George Bailey, M S Dhoni, Parthiv Patel, Ganapathy Chandrasekhar
KEY PLAYERS: Matthew Hayden, M Muralitharan, MS Dhoni, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina