Delhi and Chennai won easily on contrasting pitches though both teams did the front running for the better part of their campaign-openers.
These are still early days in the Indian Premier League (IPL). But unlike in the preceding editions, these initial matches carry more significance since not all the teams are going be at full strength towards the business end of the league.
With most overseas players on duty in the upcoming World Cup expected to join their national squads, teams are looking to accumulate as many points early in the competition.
Defending champion Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals think no differently. Having won their opening encounters, they face-off at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground to add to their points tally.
Chennai remains the pre-match favourite but Mahendra Singh Dhoni would not like to even think about it. He knows too well that this Delhi team has two brilliant cricketing brains in the dressing-room — Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly. Under Shreyas Iyer, Delhi has players who can execute the ideas of Ponting and Ganguly.
Delhi and Chennai won easily on contrasting pitches though both teams did the front running for the better part of their campaign-openers. Given the Kotla pitch, Chennai is sure to face a different script to the one they were part of, at home, against Bangalore.
Obviously, Delhi has reasons to be more inspired against the champion side. It is a team hungry for redemption.
Chennai, in contrast, always carries the burden of expectations from its fans, across boundaries. For a well-settled unit, sometimes, motivation could be a factor.
Given the potential of Delhi’s attack this season, no team would like it to put too many runs on the board. Further, the pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada are competing with each other to make an impression. The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina and Shane Watson could well have testing times.
In batting, home-grown batsmen are Delhi’s strength and it remains to be seen how Chennai deals with a steady Shikhar Dhawan, stroke-maker Prithvi Shaw, a mature Shreyas Iyer and an unpredictable Rishabh Pant.
Over all, expect a close combat.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, David Willey, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan (wk).
Delhi Capitals: Colin Ingram, Manjot Karla, Prithvi Shaw, Sherfane Rutherford, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Bandaru Ayyappa, Harshal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kasigo Rabada, Nathu Singh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Axar Patel, Chris Morris, Colin Munro, Hanuma Vihari, Jalaj Saxena, Keemo Paul, Rahul Tewatia, Ankush Bains and Rishabh Pant.
Match starts at 8 pm.