Delhi Capitals face a strong test of character when they face Chennai Super Kings in the first Indian Premier League qualifier at the Dubai Stadium, where the winner will walk straight into the final showdown — also to be played at the same stadium on Friday.
Delhi led the league standings with 20 points — with 10 wins and four losses — and in the UAE leg the picked up four and lost only two. The last loss came at the hands of Royal Challengers Bangalore when Srikar Bharat hit a six of the final ball of Avesh Khan.
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Delhi were fairly poor in the field in their last game, dropping three catches and their ground fielding also sloppy. This made captain Rishabh Pant very upset and he did not mince any words criticising his teammates over the incidents that cost them a game they should have won.
Shikar Dhawan is the leading scorer for Delhi, with 544 runs at a strike rate of 140-plus and will be the key, along with Prithvi Shaw to give them a good start. This is the sixth IPL season in succession that Dhawan has scored more than 400 runs and he will be hoping he carries on his good form and take his team to the final. Also he would like to prove a point to the selectors by scoring big who did not select him in the India T20 World Cup squad.
Even though Delhi defeated CSK in both their league games this year, they must be wary of the big-match experience of MS Dhoni, who has helped take CSK to eight finals in 10 seasons and in 2019 CSK pipped Delhi to reach the finale.
Delhi’s strength is their fast bowlers and they would like to knock off openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis, who are the leading scorers for CSK this year and if they manage to do the same, CSK task will be cut out as their middle order has struggled.
It should be a cracker of game and the team which plays to its strength well will book a direct ticket to the final.