Dubai, October 9 With the group stage finished and dusted off on Friday, the focus of IPL 2021 is now on finding a new tournament champion since 2018. The first of four steps to finding a new IPL champion will begin with the experienced The Chennai Super Kings face the enthusiastic Delhi Capitals in Qualifying 1 at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.
Chennai and Delhi will be eager to take the shortest route to the final. The team that wins on Sunday will advance directly to the final on October 15 in Dubai. The losing team will have another chance to advance to the final when they face the winner of the knockout game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders in Qualifying 2 on Wednesday.
Delhi led the league table with 20 points while Chennai was the second best team with 18 points. This will be the eleventh time Chennai has found themselves in the playoffs, but they will fear entering the final four stages with three losses on the rebound. They will be wary of Delhi, which got the better of them in both group matches this year. But what favors Chennai is the staff in their ranks who have been there and done these countless times, even though some of them face questions regarding their form.
Delhi, on the other hand, continued their impressive show from India to the United Arab Emirates to achieve a hat-trick in making the playoffs since their re-scoring. But they won’t be happy with how things turned out in their last league game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Failure to capitalize on a strong start in the first ten overs with one bat, a sloppy effort on the pitch and a six from KS Bharat’s last ball must have caused some reality check in the locker room.
The IPL 2020 finalists will have fond memories of playing against Chennai in Dubai when Rabada de Kagis’ shot through the thin leg sealed the deal for them in a low scoring chase in the final final. Dubai is also a place that has been kind to Delhi, where they won two games after losing Friday’s game while defending. For Chennai, Dubai has been a difficult time. Besides their victory defending against Mumbai Ind, they lost by doing the same against Delhi and Punjab Kings.
In terms of physical condition, Delhi hopes to have Marcus Stoinis in the eleven. But it depends on his recovery from a hamstring problem that kept him out of the majority of the league stage in the UAE. For Chennai, it remains to be seen whether Suresh Raina ‘, who has not been in top form, has made enough progress after a left knee problem to regain his place in Robin Uthappa’s eleven.
Delhi has beaten Chennai in their last four meetings. But when they last met in a playoff game in 2011, Chennai won and punched Delhi. Expect Rishabh Pant and Co. to be wary of MS Dhoni and his team’s temperament during big games.
Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (captain and wicket keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Dominic Drakes, Shardul Thakur, KM Asif, Josh Hazlewood, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo , Imran Tahir, Robin Uthappa, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karn Sharma, Krishnappa Gowtham, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Hari Nishanth, N Jagadeesan, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagath Varma
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Steven Smith, Rishabh Pant (captain and wicket keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Avesh Khan, Anrich Nortje, Sam Billings, Marcus Stoinis, Umesh Yadav, Lukman Meriwala, Tom Curran, Ben Dwarshuis, Praveen Dubey, Vishnu Vinod, Kulwant Khejroliya, Lalit Yadav, Ripal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra
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