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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?
Friday, May 25, 2012, 08:00 p.m.
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
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.
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.
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.
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.
The second of the playoff games in IPL 2012 will see the Mumbai Indians go up against defending champions, Chennai Super Kings.
Both teams can consider themselves lucky to have made it to the top four. The Mumbai Indians have made it to the playoffs despite not playing to their potential; Harbhajan Singh’s team has barely gone past the finish line in six of their ten victories. They could have easily ended up on the losing side on any other day. The Chennai Super Kings, meanwhile, sneaked into the playoffs because the Royal Challengers Bangalore threw away a golden opportunity to finish in the top four when they lost to the Deccan Chargers.
For the defending champions, this year’s 50 percent success record is their poorest showing in the league stages of an IPL season. That they’ve still managed to make it to this stage, best illustrates how fortunate they truly are.
Both teams will realize they need to be on top of their game for each of the 240 deliveries in this match. A single slipup could end up being the difference between progressing to the next game and finishing the tournament here itself.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 08:00 p.m.
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Big matches call for special temperament. And there are several players in this match who’re known for their match-winning ability. Expect them to come to the fore in this do-or-die contest.
In the Mumbai Indians line-up, keep an eye – as always – on Sachin Tendulkar. The Little Master has had an ordinary tournament by his standards; he’s only managed two half-centuries in 12 outings. The 39-year-old looked fluent in the previous match against the Rajasthan Royals – when he scored an unbeaten 58 and was involved in a match-winning partnership with Dwayne Smith at the top of the order.
Keep an eye on Rohit Sharma too. With several questions being asked about his temperament, this match (and the tournament final if MI progress that far) offers him the chance to silence his critics. Whether he stands up to the test and delivers the goods for his team remains to be seen.
In the Chennai Super Kings line-up, look out for Murali Vijay, Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina and skipper MS Dhoni. Vijay shed his poor form and produced a match-winning innings in the title clash of IPL 2011; after managing just 86 runs in his first eight innings this season, the 28-year-old seems to be striking form at the right time. He looked in good nick in his knocks of 48 against the Delhi Daredevils and 36 against the Kolkata Knight Riders, and he will look to continue the good work in this all-important clash.
Who can forget Michael Hussey’s match-winning innings of 60 against Pakistan in the semi-final of the ICC World T20 in 2010? When Australia had their backs against the wall and just as Pakistan was firming up their grip on the match, Hussey produced a special knock – an incredible assault to put it mildly. He singlehandedly took his team to the final of the competition.
Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni have had poor tournaments too; both players are yet to score a half-century this season and this could just be their moment of reckoning. To say Raina – the highest run-getter in the IPL – is the key to Chennai Super Kings’ success wouldn’t be wrong; the 25-year-old was the top-scorer in four of Chennai Super Kings’ seven knockout matches during the first four IPL seasons. He will need to come up with something special yet again, if his team hopes to make it a hat-trick of IPL titles. MS Dhoni’s unbeaten 91 in the Final of the 2011 ICC World Cup – and his six to seal the deal – will be fresh in the minds of most cricket fans. Expect Captain Cool to come up with the goods during this special occasion too.
The only bowler in this contest who can singlehandedly win the match for his team is Lasith Malinga. After picking up 20 wickets in his first eight matches, the Sri Lankan has gone off the boil picking up only two wickets in his next five matches. How well the CSK batsmen handle his four overs, how many runs they score off him and how many wickets they lose to him, will have a huge impact on who comes out on the right side of the result in this game.
The Mumbai Indians will be hopeful of extending the edge they have over the Chennai Super Kings – given their 6-4 win-loss record against the two-time champions.
CSK were 4-3 ahead after three seasons of the IPL. But since then, the Mumbai Indians have won all three of their meetings against the Super Kings.
When these two teams met this season, Harbhajan Singh’s team blanked out the defending champions, both home and away. In the first meeting between the two teams – in the season opener at Chennai – MI bowled out the hosts for 112 and chased down the required runs comfortably to win convincingly by eight wickets. In the return fixture at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, CSK posted 173 for eight and called the shots for the majority of the match, only for Dwayne Smith to ruin their party by scoring the required 14 runs off the last three balls, to lead MI to a thrilling last-ball win.
Chennai Super Kings batsmen have scored the fewest 50-plus scores this season; they have posted only five 50-plus scores in IPL 2012.
The Mumbai Indians have tried eight different opening pairs this season – the most any team has tried in IPL 2012.
Harbhajan Singh has won 10 and lost six tosses in the 16 matches this season, while his counterpart MS Dhoni has just the opposite numbers – he’s won six and lost 10 tosses in 16 matches.
The last four matches at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium have been won by the team chasing.
Among the regular IPL venues, the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru has the highest boundary percentage; 61.27 percent of the runs scored in IPL matches at the venue have been through boundaries.
It will be the end of the road in IPL 2012 for the team that loses this contest. The winner, on the other hand, will head to Chennai for Qualifier 2, where they will be pitted against the Delhi Daredevils – who lost Qualifier 1 to the Kolkata Knight Riders.