Having returned to winning ways with a professional triumph over Rajasthan Royals in their previous encounter, Delhi Capitals will look to continue their impressive run when they face unpredictable Chennai Super Kings in the 34th match of IPL 2020 at Sharjah.
Delhi are currently placed second in the points table, just below Mumbai, with six wins and two losses from eight matches. They have a strong batting line-up, which has come up with highly memorable performances. Their bowling has also been among the best in the tournament with the pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje being well supported by spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel.
Batting mainstay Shreyas Iyer, though, is a doubtful starter due to his shoulder injury.
CSK made some smart moves in the last game, which gave them a much-needed victory over SRH. But, the former champions need to remain consistent from here on. As DC and CSK clash on Saturday, we analyse three interesting player battles that could take place.
#1. Shikhar Dhawan vs Deepak Chahar
This could very well be a battle of who blinks first. Shikhar Dhawan likes to take his time in the beginning before opening up while Deepak Chahar does not like to give anything away.
If Chahar succeeds in keeping Dhawan quiet, the latter will have no choice but to take on the medium pacer to break the stranglehold. In such a scenario, the left-hander’s shot selection will be crucial. Against RR, though he came up with a bright fifty, he threw his wicket away by playing a needless reverse sweep.
Chahar has a habit of preying on batsmen’s weaknesses and he would look to force a mistake out of Dhawan as well. The left-hander will most likely lead DC against Chennai, so he will have to show additional responsibility too.
Dhawan has 258 runs from eight games at a strike rate of 133.67. Chahar, on the other hand, has six wickets from the same number of games. If Chahar manages to keep Dhawan quiet and build the pressure, he would have done his job.
#2. Sam Curran vs Anrich Nortje
Following his success against Sunrisers Hyderabad, CSK look all set to continue the experiment with Sam Curran as an opener. The England all-rounder smashed 31 from only 21 balls with three fours and two sixes to get the innings underway against SRH.
He has the ability to unsettle bowlers with his unorthodox stroke-play. Even in the tournament opener against Mumbai Indians, it was his six-ball 18 that clinched the deal. So Curran will be confident of doing a good job.
At the top of the order though, he will face a mighty challenge from Anrich Nortje. The Delhi pacer has been exceptional with his extreme pace and wicket-taking deliveries. Against Rajasthan, he delivered the fastest ball of the IPL.
The attacking keeper-opener Jos Buttler tried to take him on, and managed to get a couple of balls away. But, in the end, Nortje had the last laugh with a fiery delivery that got through Buttler’s defence.
This is something Curran will need to be mindful of.
#3. Faf du Plessis vs Ravichandran Ashwin
Faf du Plessis may have been dismissed without scoring against SRH in their first meeting. But, he has been CSK’s most consistent batsman this season. The former South African captain has already notched up 307 runs from eight games at a strike rate of 146.88, with three fifties.
If he gets in, du Plessis ensures that he scores a swift pace, which is something the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav have failed to do, thus hurting the team’s momentum.
CSK would be keen for du Plessis to come up with another gem against Delhi.
With his technique and confidence, du Plessis is best suited to tackle the spin threat of dangerous off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. He has been able to hit over the top with ease against slow bowlers.
However, Ashwin, with his guile and expertise, will be a different kettle of fish. He has undone many a batsmen in IPL 2020 with his variations, forcing them to play the shot he wants them to.
Ashwin will bring out his bag of tricks against du Plessis as well. But, considering the latter’s talent, the contest should be a clos one.Published 17 Oct 2020, 17:40 IST