Important outing for Chennai, Daredevils

Important outing for Chennai, Daredevils

Important outing for Chennai, Daredevils

Anxious wait: Delhi Daredevils need their skipper Gautam Gambhir to fire against Chennai Super Kings on Thursday. PTI

The Daredevils, flying into a hot and humid Chennai after suffering three consecutive defeats, were once considered certainties for the semi-finals, but lost their way in the second-half of the tournament that, strangely, coincided with the arrival of England’s frontline batsman Paul Collingwood and Kiwi spinner Daniel Vettori.

The three reverses, including a humiliating loss to cellar-dwellers Kings XI Punjab, who bowled out Delhi for 111, saw them veering off-course and into a storm.

In this context, the Daredevils will be under lot more pressure in Thursday’s game under lights at Chepauk where last night the Super Kings chalked up a resounding win against the Kolkata Knight Riders to jump four spots to second on the leaderboard.
With five teams on 12 points and Mumbai Indians assured of a semi-final spot, the pressure is on all the contenders and the Super Kings seemed to have handled the situation well to position themselves as one of the favourites for a semi-final berth judging by their positive approach against the Knight Riders.

Super Kings, despite their six defeats, four of them in a row, were on four points at the half-way mark of seven matches. Thereafter, in a dramatic turnaround that did not surprise the discerning, the Super Kings won four of their next five matches, including one against Delhi at the Kotla, and seem to be peaking at the right moment.
Thus, the Daredevils face an onerous task on the morrow, fully aware of the opposition’s capability. In the Kotla game, the Super Kings successfully chased a target of 186 with five deliveries to spare with opener Matthew Hayden scoring 93 and Suresh Raina finishing it off with an unbeaten 49.

For all the firepower in their ranks with likes of David Warner, Virender Sehwag, skipper Gautam Gambhir, AB de Villiers and Paul Collingwood, the Daredevils batsmen have not fired in unison or on a consistent basis, leading to the shock defeats. The onus will be on these worthies now to guide the side through troubled waters.

The Delhi bowling attack has been dependant on leg-spinner Amit Mishra and to a lesser extent, seamer Pradeep Sangwan, but with not much support from the other end. The approach, it would seem, has been more about containing than taking wickets.
In contrast, the Super Kings appear to be better placed especially since their so-called weak link, bowling, has been considerably strengthened with the inclusion of Aussie fast bowler Doug Bollinger who has complemented spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin, Muttiah Muralitharan and Shadab Jakati.

Going into Thursday’s game, the Super Kings appear more rounded and balanced than the Daredevils and with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni doing a fine job of leading from the front, the hosts will be justified in feeling they have the upper hand.