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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 24 May 2012 - 05:23pm IST

Preview: Qualifier 2 – CSK v DD

Confident CSK take on DD at Chepauk with finals berth at stake

What

Qualifier 2, which will see defending champions Chennai Super Kings face off against the Delhi Daredevils. This game will help identify which of the two teams will take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in the title clash of DLF IPL 2012.

Both teams come into this contest with contrasting fortunes. The Delhi Daredevils finished the league at the top of the table, but went down to KKR by 18 runs in Qualifier 1, while the Chennai Super Kings barely made it to the playoffs, but convincingly defeated the Mumbai Indians in the Eliminator.

CSK will be favourites heading into this contest as they play at home. The team has emerged unscathed in several such do-or-die situations previously, and has the confidence of a big win behind them. Will the Delhi Daredevils be able to bring their A game and make it to their first ever IPL final?

When

Friday, May 25, 2012, 08:00 p.m.


Where


MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai


The Protagonists


True to his reputation of being a big-match player, MS Dhoni – after a wretched season – came good for his team at just the right time. When his team looked like finishing with a moderate total in the previous match against the Mumbai Indians, the CSK skipper turned on the heat. He scored a 20-ball half-century (his first of the season) and put the match beyond the reach of the opponents. Given this is yet another do-or-die contest for his team, expect him to come up with another special performance.

Though the spotlight almost always falls on Suresh Raina – and deservedly so – another southpaw has gone about his job well this season. Michael Hussey might not be counted among the most dangerous batsmen in the Twenty20 format, but he is certainly the all-weather man in the Chennai Super Kings line-up. The Australian averages 55 and scores his runs at a strike-rate of 129 in CSK wins. However, his numbers are markedly different when CSK loses – average of 14.50 and strike-rate of 87. His mature knock of 49 and his 94-run partnership with S Badrinath, which resurrected the innings against the Mumbai Indians highlight how important a player he is to his team.

In the Delhi Daredevils line-up, keep an eye on the two players at the top of the order. Virender Sehwag and David Warner are among the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket currently. On their day, both batters are capable of demolishing the best bowling attacks single-handedly. The Delhi Daredevils skipper scored half-centuries in five consecutive innings; but after that run, he was brought to a halt. He has only managed 49 runs in the next five innings. Can he produce a special knock in this all-important clash?

As far as David Warner is concerned, he has only one style of play – whatever the format of the game. The New South Wales batsman got a rough decision in the previous match against the Kolkata Knight Riders and he will be keen to make up for that failure – expect him to be ruthless on the opposition bowlers from the word go. It will be interesting to see if he can adjust to the slow track he is likely to come across in Chennai, and if he is able to dominate the slow bowlers in the CSK line-up.

Also, keep an eye on the battle of the captains between MS Dhoni and Virender Sehwag. Since there is no second chance from here on, every single move made by the skippers could have an impact on the end result. While Dhoni has looked jaded at times, some of Sehwag’s decisions – like not playing an additional spinner in Pune or batting Ross Taylor down at No.7 in the chase against KKR – have come under the scanner.

Previous Meetings

The Chennai Super Kings hold a 5-4 win-loss record from their nine previous meetings against the Delhi Daredevils.

Both teams won their home fixtures when they met in the league stage. In the first meeting at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, DD restricted the Chennai Super Kings to 110 for eight and then chased down the required runs in 13.2 overs. In the return fixture in Chennai, the Daredevils were restricted to 114 for five, and then, lost the game by nine wickets in 15.2 overs.

Trivia

The head-to-head between the two teams at Chennai stands at two matches apiece. While the Delhi Daredevils got the better of the hosts in 2008 and 2010, the hosts emerged victors in their meetings in 2011 and 2012.

The MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai has hosted the most IPL matches – 31.

Both teams have awesome records in run-chases this season; the Chennai Super Kings have won five of their six run-chases, while the Delhi Daredevils have won nine of their 13 run-chases.

Delhi Daredevils bowlers have conceded the most boundaries in IPL 2012 – 321 (249 fours and 72 sixes).

No captain has lost more tosses in the IPL than MS Dhoni; the Chennai Super Kings skipper has lost the toss in 41 of the 76 matches in which he’s lead the team.

What next?

The winner of this contest will progress to the title clash against the Kolkata Knight Riders on May 27, while the losers will have to pack their bags, but they will have clinched a berth in the 2012 Champions League Twenty20 anyway.

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