Top of the table CSK travel to Raipur to face a lacklustre Delhi Daredevils in an attempt to claim the one victory needed to ensure that they mathematically make the impending IPL playoffs. As it stands, if Chennai were to lose both of their remaining fixtures while the likes of Royal Challengers Bangalore (fourth) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (fifth) go unbeaten, the Super Kings could be dumped out of the knockout stages. As unlikely a scenario as it is, Chennai will still be intent on leaving nothing to chance. The Daredevils will need to pick themselves up from four consecutive losses to play the part of spoilers here.
To Win Match
Delhi Daredevils 19/10
Chennai Super Kings 4/10
Quinton de Kock made a promising start to his time with the Daredevils in his first match this season against the Sunrisers, but ultimately found little support at the top of the order after he had made his fifty. With de Kock removed, a blitz half-century from Jadhav – his first of the campaign – along with Tiwary’s best performance, brought the Daredevils agonisingly close to chasing down the Sunrisers’ total. However, it ended in yet another loss for Delhi – their fourth of the trot – ensuring that this match against Chennai followed by one more against RCB will be their last forays of IPL 2015. Delhi have battled for runs for most of the season with young opener Shreyas Iyer their top scorer with 349 runs. Captain JP Duminy lies close behind but there has otherwise been little to write home about from the Delhi batting department. Big money signing Yuvraj Singh has been typically disappointing, recording only two fifties all tournament, nevermind the plethora of dropped catches. In the bowling department, Imran Tahir and Nathan Coulter-Nile have fifteen wickets apiece but have been unable to compensate for a general lack of commanding performances with the bat.
Chennai Super Kings
Mohit Sharma stood up and scuppered the Rajasthan Royals’ chase with figures of 3/25 following another rampant innings from Brendon McCullum to hand the Super Kings victory and put them on the brink of knockout qualification. Sharma is only a small piece of a very tough Super Kings seam attack that gives very little away. Dwayne Bravo has shone with the ball throughout the tournament and has picked up nineteen wickets, making him the tournament’s chief destroyer. He has been ably backed up by Ashish Nehra, a couple of wickets behind on the list. Brendon McCullum has followed up his World Cup exploits with aplomb, crashing 419 runs in the tournament that first made the world take notice of the Kiwi captain. Who can forget the IPL’s opening match in 2008, when McCullum smashed 158 from 73 balls to take KKR to a 140-run victory over RCB? Not much has changed. McCullum is only 42 runs behind Ajinkya Rahane in the race for the orange cap. Chennai batsmen do not pepper the top of the run-scorers list this season but the Super Kings are a side with reliable men for every occasion.
Raipur is not the most familiar of grounds, hosting its first match of this year in the Daredevils’ last outing against the Sunrisers. However, it hosted a couple of matches in the 2013, both of which Delhi won. The pitch was a good contest between bat and ball last time out and huge totals are not expected. No rain is expected.
VERDICT: Chennai Super Kings 4/10
The Chennai Super Kings seem to excel in pressure situations and there is a very good reason why they are the most successful of all of the IPL franchises. They’ve built the side with minimum movements in the auction and have stalwarts such as MS Dhoni and Ravi Jadeja who know how to win global tournaments. I expect them to coast into the knockout stages with another win here, potentially in far easier a manner than their one-run victory over Delhi in the tournament’s early stages.