Battle between youngsters (DC) and veterans (CSK) for spot in IPL final

Dhoni and Shreyas Iyer

Chennai: The young and energetic Delhi Capitals (DC), having won their first IPL knockout match after defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad last night, are now gearing up for the Chennai Super Kings challenge, when the teams meet in the qualifier 2 at ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam Friday.

Delhi, after registering a come-from-behind victory against Kane Williamson-led SRH, are high on confidence and ahead of qualifier 2, they will also have an advantage of playing in the same venue.

The men in yellow have travelled to Visakhapatnam after losing qualifier 1 to Mumbai Indians at home and will look to fix their batting woes to seal a spot in the finals.

The defending champions have been marred by batting inconsistency throughout this season and against Mumbai in qualifier 1 none of the batsmen was able to take the team to a good total.

Early wickets weakened the run flow and just when it looked like M S Dhoni as usual would help the team post a challenging total towards the end, with some lofty blows off Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah restricted the talismanic finisher from scoring any boundaries in the last over, helping MI restrict CSK for 131/4.

The CSK spinners then even after picking up two wickets, allowed a partnership to swell that took the game away from them.

Against Delhi in the do-or-die match, the men in yellow will look to resurrect their batting. Shane Watson and Suresh Raina especially have not scored consistently so far and the outfit want these two key batsmen to give the team a good start.

The middle order, too, needs to step up and will need to give a supporting hand to Dhoni from the other end.

Delhi has also so far been inconsistent with the bat. Though Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer have given a good start, the middle order has not consolidated it, especially while chasing, and crumbled under pressure.

Even during the eliminator, the middle order batsmen kept losing wickets and it required a miracle from Rishabh Pant to get them over the line. Delhi will be wary of this, especially after they crumbled in a similar fashion against CSK not more than a week ago in Chennai.

CSK and DC are reliant on their spinners and looking at the pitch at Visakhapatnam, the spinners will have a go at the batsman. Especially, CSK’s spinners Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh will be wary of the fact that DC’s batsmen struggled against Rashid Khan in the eliminator and will look to attack them with their potent weapon.

Amit Mishra is the lone, effective spinner for Delhi in recent times as Axar Patel has been ineffective in the last few matches and DC will consider bringing in Sandeep Lamichhane.

Both the teams need collective performance from their batters to stand a chance to get into the finals and it remains to be seen whether the outfit powered by the youth or the team comprising senior pros will have the last laugh.

Qualifier 2: CSK vs DC

At Vizag (7.30 pm)

Aaditya Anand M