Dubai: The blockbuster of play-offs of the Indian Premier League(IPL) will start as Rishabh Pant’s Delhi Capitals take on MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday. The winner of this fixture will earn a direct ticket to the IPL 2021 final as a reward for finishing in the top-two in league stage. The one who’ll suffer defeat will get another chance when it will meet the winner of the Eliminator in the Qualifier 2.
However, this fixture as it stands is all about a battle between a master and an apprentice trying to edge out each other.MS Dhoni, a seasoned campaigner himself have all the tools to play a game of this sort of magnitude. On the other hand, Rishabh Pant, termed as the heir of the “captain cool” will like to do his best to prove the worth of his leadership.
Delhi were the runners up last season and this time they would certainly hope to go one step further. They finished as table topper in the league stage this season with 10 wins from 14 games.
Although, heading into the CSK clash on the back of a close defeat against Royal Challengers Bangalore, skipper Pant wont bother much about the result in the last game as his team have been like a well-oiled machine throughout this season. Their consistency which didn’t dip even after the COVID-19 forced break.
They have a fairly balanced line up with a strong batting line up alongside a bowling unit which is lead by fiery trident of seamers- Kagiso Rabda, Anrich Nortje and Avesh Khan, all being able to crush any opposition.
Return of Shreyas Iyer in the second phase of the tournament has been a blessing as he is a vital cog in the batting order. Shinron Hetmyer too is quite crucial to the side as his swashbuckling style is needed to finish off games. Another good news is star all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who has been out of action since limping out of the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on September 22 might return to the side for this game.
CSK meanwhile, also have side with a lot of experience playing in the knock outs. The likes of MS Dhoni, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja have seen it all in their IPL career and have the ability to soak up the pressure of the game. They do a have squad available for selection for the big game despite with just Sam Curran out injured.
The opening duo of Du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad will be key figures for this game to set up a good base for a big score. However, it all comes down to the tricks and moves played by skipper Dhoni, who is arguably the most successful limited overs captain in the modern era and it will be interesting how he uses his troops to the best effect.