Before the start of IPL 2019, there was an advertisement which showed Rishabh Pant was challenging his idol MS Dhoni. “Mahi bhai tayyar rehna, game dikhane aa raha hoon (Mahi bro, get ready. I am coming to show my game)”. And show it he did. Pant’s blazing 78 off 27 balls pounded three-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium and the Delhi franchise, under a new name and a new jersey, started their IPL journey on a positive note. Dhoni, being the tactical genius that he is, will be aware of the danger Pant poses as Chennai Super Kings, fresh from their win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chepauk, get ready to play in the first game at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
In the last encounter between the two sides in 2018 at the Kotla, Delhi Capitals (who were known as Delhi Daredevils at that time) got the better of Chennai Super Kings and it was through a combination of disciplined bowling and batting. Shikhar Dhawan and Colin Ingram provide stability in the batting line-up while the young brigade of Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant give the Delhi Capitals the X-factor among all the sides.
It was the bowling which helped Delhi Capitals stave off a late charge from Yuvraj Singh in Wankhede. Kagiso Rabada and Ishant Sharma hit the right lengths while Trent Boult also showed his experience. The only problem area for Delhi Capitals is the spin bowling, with Axar Patel conceding runs. If they have to get the better of Chennai Super Kings, they may want to draft in Nepal legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane on a Kotla deck that might assist the spinners.
On the other hand, Chennai Super Kings’ spinners had a field day on a dodgy Chepauk wicket with Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja running through the Royal Challengers Bangalore batting. The trio will get some assistance from the Kotla deck although not as much as the one in Chepauk. The batting was not tested enough in the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Dhoni will be hoping that his team steps up in the quest for big runs.
Chennai Super Kings have a settled line-up and they may not want to make many changes to the side. The nature of the Chepauk wicket might tempt them to not alter their batting or bowling combinations. For Delhi Capitals, looking at the way how Axar was carted all over the park, they might be tempted to draft in a better spinner, possibly Lamichhane. This could mean that either of Trent Boult or Keemo Paul might sit out for this game.
Chennai Super Kings (Playing XI): Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir
Delhi Capitals (Playing XI): Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer(c), Rishabh Pant(w), Colin Ingram, Sandeep Lamichhane, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma
Who will win?
With both teams winning their opening games, both are high on confidence. Chennai Super Kings, though, are three-time champions for a reason and they will be aiming to win more matches outside of their home fortress in order to stand a good chance of reaching the play-offs. Looking at the performance of the Delhi Capitals, it will be a close match but the experience of the Chennai Super Kings players gives them an advantage.
Weather and pitch
The evening will be slightly cool at 16 degrees Celsius and dew might play a factor. The pitch will be on the slow side and will assist spinners.
Stadium and timings
The match will be played at the Feroz Shah Kotla and the game will start at 8:00 PM IST.