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Match 64 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will feature two-time champions Chennai Super Kings taking on the Delhi Daredevils.
Chennai Super Kings’ defeat at the hands of Rajasthan Royals and results from other matches over the last few matches has meant there is still a chance – however miniscule - that CSK could be eliminated from the Pepsi IPL 2013 Playoffs. MS Dhoni and his team have made it past the league stage in every one of the five IPL seasons so far and they will be keen to maintain that record by progressing through the season for the sixth time in a row.
The Delhi Daredevils have the opportunity to enjoy the game and express themselves. Eighth in the standings with just three wins from 13 matches, DD still play an important role in the competition for they could have a say in deciding how and where Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab end the tournament. In their previous match against RCB, the team put up a brave fight in their chase of 184 – eventually finishing four runs short. They will be keen to put in that extra yard and finish on the right side this time around.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 8 p.m
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
The core of the Chennai Super Kings team has been the same since the inception of the IPL and each player knows and understands exactly what is expected of him in given situations. The perfect recipe for CSK would be for Michael Hussey to get runs at the top of the order, for Suresh Raina to control and accelerate from No. 3 and for skipper MS Dhoni to flourish in the death overs. Dwayne Bravo and Mohit Sharma have been brilliant with the ball and they will be expected to be the same yet again. The spotlight will be on R Ashwin who was taken for 23 runs and forced out of the attack after his solitary over against the Rajasthan Royals.
To compete with the Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils need runs from their international stars – Virender Sehwag and David Warner. It has been three matches since either Sehwag or Warner scored a half-century and that has had a direct impact on the team.
Chennai Super Kings have a 7-4 win-loss record against the Delhi Daredevils.
In the most recent meeting at Delhi, CSK posted 169 for four and then skittled out the hosts for 83 to win by 86 runs.
Historically, pitches in Chennai have been known to assist spinners. However, this season, of the 72 dismissals by bowlers at the venue, only 20 have been by spinners.
Since his match-winning 83 in a Test match against England in 2008, Virender Sehwag has only managed 34 runs in six innings in Chennai (across all formats).
Chennai Super Kings will play their final league fixture of the season against Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 18 (at Bengaluru), while the Delhi Daredevils will head to Dharamsala to take on Kings XI Punjab on May 16.
Topping the points table last year, the Delhi Daredevils have come a cropper in IPL 2013, languishing in the bottom two. With three games to go in this tournament and no chance to qualify for the Playoffs, the team aims to finish the tournament on a high, according to Ashish Nehra, on the eve of their big game against the Chennai Super Kings.
“This has not been a good season for us but we have three games left now and we will look to finish well and try to win all those games,” Nehra said.
“It’s difficult to maintain consistency season after season in the IPL. Only Chennai Super Kings have been able to do that because they have had more or less the same team since the first season. We have a very good team this season but were held back with too many injuries. It has been a difficult season but in the T20 format you have to take it in your stride,” Nehra said, citing the absence of Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder as big blows.
“We had many injuries up front this year and missed people like Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder. Virender Sehwag came back from injury and so did Umesh Yadav, myself and Irfan Pathan. It was tough and we lost our first six games in a row. After that we won three. If we had won a couple of games early on, we would have stood a chance,” he said
The Daredevils bought Nehra from Pune Warriors India in exchange of Ross Taylor ahead of the current IPL season. While nine wickets from eight matches at the rate of 8.6 runs per over would say otherwise, Nehra believes he has bowled well in the tournament so far.
“I won’t say I am unhappy with my performance. I generally bowl in the first six and the last four overs of the innings. In the first few games I was a bit rusty coming back from a knee surgery but day by day I did improve. In India all the focus is on stats but personally I am very happy with the way I am bowling. Hopefully I can get better in the last three games,” he said.
As the senior-most Indian pacer in the Daredevils squad, Nehra had particularly high words of praise for Umesh Yadav. “If you ask me, Umesh Yadav is the most talented bowler in India. If he does well, I’m sure India will do well in Test cricket for the next few years,” he said.
Pleased with Irfan Pathan’s selection in India’s squad for the Champions Trophy, Nehra said he still had time to improve on his bowling and batting until the tournament begins.
“In the Champions Trophy in England, his batting can come in handy and that’s what I think the selectors have taken into account. He has been doing well in both batting and bowling but I still feel he can get better in the three-four weeks that we still have for the Champions Trophy to start,” he said.