Despite a poor show in the first-half, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have once again proved why they are a team whose presence can't be neglected. The MS Dhoni-led side managed to garner a much-needed win against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to keep their playoffs hopes alive and will now aim to consolidate their position when they face a confident-looking Delhi Capitals (DC) on Saturday evening.
Dhoni's decisions, which were heavily criticised earlier, finally clicked in their last game and the three-time champions will certainly aim to stick to their plans.
While Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu are in good form, CSK's ploy of promoting Sam Curran up the order also worked as the all-rounder handed an ideal start to his side with a 31-run knock against SRH.
Meanwhile, Faf du Plessis faltered in the last game but the South Africa batsman has been in great touch with the willow. Ravindra Jadeja too performed with the bat scoring a 10-ball 25.
It's now Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo's turn to provide stability to the side down the order, which would further motivate the others in the side.
Their bowling too has been decent with pacers Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar making breakthroughs at crucial junctures.
With the wickets in UAE getting slower, Piyush Chawla, Karn Sharma and Jadeja will now have to deliver goods, exploiting the conditions.
Meanwhile, as the charismatic skipper had hinted earlier, Imran Tahir, who had been warming the bench till now, could now play but it remains to be seen who will be axed from the playing XI to accommodate the spinner.
On the other hand, DC have endured many injuries but still hold the second spot in the table. The Shreyas Iyer-led side went down by five wickets against Mumbai Indians on October 11 before getting things back on track against the Royals.
DC would also be worried about the fitness of skipper Iyer, who hurt his left shoulder in the previous game. The skipper has led the side from the front and if he misses a game on Saturday, it would be a major jolt to DC, who are already without the services of Rishabh Pant.
In such a scenario, opener Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan would have to lay a solid foundation against CSK. Not only with the bat but Dhawan might also need to put his leadership skills into play if DC is to go without Iyer.
There are however, no issues with DC's bowling. Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje have been clinical in their approach while experienced Ravichandran Ashwin, who was earlier a key part of CSK, needs to keep the momentum going with Axar Patel.
Marcus Stoinis's presence would once again be crucial for DC as the all-rounder has to up the ante being the most experienced all-rounder in the side.
CSK meanwhile, would also aim to avenge their previous defeat when they suffered a 44-run hammering by Iyer's boys on September 25.
Delhi Capitals Squad: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer(c), Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey(w), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Tushar Deshpande, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Harshal Patel, Mohit Sharma, Avesh Khan, Shimron Hetmyer, Rishabh Pant, Sandeep Lamichhane, Keemo Paul, Daniel Sams, Lalit Yadav
Chennai Super Kings Squad: Sam Curran, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, Monu Kumar, Mitchell Santner, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, N Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif
Starting XI Prediction:
Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Axar Patel, Kagiso Rabada, R Ashwin, Anrich Nortje, Tushar Deshpande
Chennai Super Kings: Faf du Plessis, Sam Curran, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma
Delhi Capitals vs Chennai Super Kings Dream11 Picks:
Shikhar Dhawan, Shane Watson, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, MS Dhoni (C & Wk), Sam Curran, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Kagiso Rabada
Toss: Chennai Super Kings win the toss, opt to bat first!
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer(c), Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey(w), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Tushar Deshpande, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
Chennai Super Kings: Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni(w/c), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma
The game begins!
Sam Curran and du Plessis are at the crease. Sam Curran is on strike. Tushar Deshpande will open the attack for DC!
Score after 5 overs: CSK (29-1)
Sam Curran could not pull off another run fest as an opener. He was dismissed without having scored a single run in the two balls he faced.
Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis are at the crease now. Watson has been performing well in the last few games. du Plessis's form, however, has taken a toll as the batsman has not played an inning to remember for a while now.
Score after 10 overs: CSK (71-1)
Looks like fans are going to witness another great partnership between du Plessis and Watson. The pair has already scripted a 71-run partnership.
Score after 15 overs: CSK (112-3)
Sadly, both du Plessis and Watson have been dismissed. At 15 overs, Chennai's score is horrible. MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu have to take Chennai to a respectable total if they want to give Delhi a tough chase.
Score after 20 overs: CSK (179-4)
The chase begins!
Prithvi Shaw and Dhawan are at the crease. Prithvi Shaw is on strike. Chahar will open the attack for CSK!
Score after 5 overs: DC (29-2)
Not a great start for Delhi. However, Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer are still at the crease. Dhawan already seems in the mood to explode the firecrackers, and at this rate his half-century looks closer than ever.
Score after 10 overs: DC (76-2)
Dhawan and Iyer are holding their ground with steady batting with the former reaching the 50-run mark. He has now scored half-centuries in all of his last three matches.
Score after 15 overs: DC (129-3)
Chennai need to win this game if they do not want to be put in a do-or-die situation for their next five matches. If Chennai loses, they will have to win all their remaining matches to qualify for the play-offs.