The Daredevils come into this encounter with much to prove, after the log leaders lost out to the Knight Riders on Tuesday. It was the kind of game that, for the most part, the Daredevils wouldn’t have felt that they were out of. They restricted Kolkata well up until the end of the 16th over, where the Knight Riders had loped to 106/4. However, Shukla and Pathan opened fire and took 56 off the remaining 4 overs, propelling Kolkata to a handsome 162. The Daredevils chase was dealt early blows with a decision going against the idiotic David Warner and Virender Sehwag throwing his wicket away, but Jayawardene and Naman Ojha showed resilience in a spirited fight-back. However, on a turning wicket, the choking spin of Kolkata’s Sunny Narine and his cohorts led the Knight Riders to a fairly emphatic win.
The Super Kings continued to fight their way towards a third straight title, after they saw off the Mumbai Indians yesterday. Chennai were typically bullish with the bat, and found the boundary rope relentlessly. Hussey and Badrinath spear-headed the innings with some classy play, followed by the brutality of Dhoni and Bravo. Dhoni struck the biggest six of the tournament off Franklin on his way to 51 not out off 20 balls, and Chennai finished on 187/5, a stiff chase even on a wicket that was a joy to bat on. For the Indians, Dwayne Smith laid down a statement of intent early on, but regular wickets at regular intervals led to their demise. They couldn’t string together any partnerships of worth and struggled to 149/9 after their 20 overs, 38 runs short of the mighty Super Kings.
Super Kings 8/10
|Warner and Sehwag: A deadly potion.|
The Daredevils lost to the Kolkata Knight Riders due mainly to tactical blunders. The decision to play their three frontline quicks wasn’t a poor decision based on their performances previously, but on a slow wicket, it bore no fruit. The faster Morkel, Yadav and Aaron bowled, the faster it came off the bat and Virender Sehwag was left wondering whether he should’ve included left-arm spinner Nadeem on a pitch that offered assistance. Selection decisions aside, when they lost Ohja in the tenth over, they should’ve sent in Ross Taylor ahead of Rao. When Jayawardene fell in the 14th, Negi strolled out to the crease. Ross Taylor only came in to bat at number seven, when the asking rate had climbed to over 14 an over. By this time, it was far too late.
When they travel to Chennai, they may be in the same predicament again. They will be loath to leave out any of the pace bowlers that have brought about their good fortune this season, but on a slower and lower wicket, these guys may not be the answer. In the IPL you cannot be rigid in your plans, and the Daredevils will need to take some chances if they are going to back-up their final position at the top of the log.
Despite starting the tournament slowly, the Chennai Super Kings have definitely built up a head of steam moving towards the knockouts. And now that they are here, it is the familiar Super Kings we have all come to know. The tournament started off poorly due to a lack of form amongst the squad, while other teams entered with their players already sharp. The Super Kings have had to fight for their place in the knockouts, which has made their position all the more sweet for captain MS Dhoni. Their performance against the Indians was impressive and showed resolve, coming back from 2/2 to finish 187/5 is no mean feat. When they face the Daredevils tomorrow, they face them with home ground advantage and with some useful spinners in their ranks, something that Delhi seems to lack.
According to Stephen Fleming, the Super Kings will not look to make any changes ahead of the next game. They believe that they already have the right balance and that it would be best to back the players who brought about their win over the Indians. Either way, the Super Kings will be itching to move past the Daredevils and host the Knight Riders for the final at their home ground.
Chennai will host this penultimate knockout game, as well as the final on Sunday. The MA Chidambaram Stadium is known to attract a knowledgeable and appreciative crowd, but I doubt there will be any love lost tomorrow. Chennai believe that their slower bowlers are the way to counteract the Daredevils on this pitch, so expect it low and slow.
BEST: Highest 1st Six Overs Score, Delhi Daredevils 8/10
The Daredevils are the team that pack the firepower up front, while the Super Kings are the team that destroys at the death. With Warner and Sehwag opening, and both failing in the last match, expect the first six overs of the Delhi innings to be a whirlwind affair.
VERDICT: Super Kings 8/10
Like that little Dutch boy with his finger in the dam, I have been waiting for the Super Kings to finally burst. And they have, with sumptuous shot selection and intensity. The Daredevils looked worn against a Kolkata side that hungered for victory, and I expect the same result here against a Super Kings side that looks to only just be getting started.
Written by @IAMaverickWhite for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
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