CSK vs DC IPL 2021 Preview: Chennai look to leave behind last year's struggles as Pant takes over DC's captaincy
Coming on the back of a disappointing season, starting on a high note will be crucial for the confidence of Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2021.
CSK have numbers, DC have form
The last time Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings met in the IPL, the Capitals won the match by 5 wickets on the penultimate ball. In fact, Delhi Capitals won both their matches against Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2020.
In the 23 matches played between Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, CSK have won 15 and Delhi have won 8. That said, Chennai have been on a decline of late which has coincided with Delhi's rise. As a result, things are not as black and white as they might seem.
Chennai look a lot more balanced
CSK have made a few changes to their squad. They have let go of the likes of Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh and Kedar Jadhav and have brought in spin bowling all rounders Moeen Ali and Krishnappa Gowtham. Meanwhile, Josh Hazlewood has decided to pull out of the IPL due to bubble fatigue.
After some impressive performances in the last season, Ruturaj Gaikwad will open the batting for Chennai Super Kings alongside Faf du Plessis. The incoming Suresh Raina, who was unavailable in the last season, is likely to bat at number 3, with Ambati Rayudu following him at number 4.
Curran and Chahar with the new rock
Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni will bat number 5 and number 6 as per the situation of the match. Moeen Ali is likely to be part of CSK's starting XI alongside compatriot Sam Curran. The two beef up the team's lower middle order.
Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar will be the leading pace bowlers for CSK. With Lungi Ngidi undergoing quarantine, there is a good chance that CSK play both Dwayne Bravo and Sam Curran.
Pant's time to shine
In the absence of regular skipper Shreyas Iyer due to injury, Rishabh Pant has taken over the captaincy for Delhi Capitals. Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw are expected to open the batting for Delhi Capitals, with Ajinkya Rahane or Steve Smith and Rishabh Pant at number 3 and 4 respectively.
The big hitters just keep coming in for Delhi with Shimron Hetmyer and Marcus Stoinis in the middle order.
Both Ishant and Umesh to get the nod?
With Axar Patel in isolation after having tested positive for COVID-19, Amit Mishra and Ravichandran Ashwin will be Delhi Capitals' spin choices.
Likewise, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje will not be available for the first match. The duo is undergoing a 7-day hard quarantine after having travelled from South Africa. Chris Woakes is likely to partner Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav to make up the DC playing XI.
Top Batsman - Runs Scored - Prithvi Shaw (DC), Suresh Raina (CSK)
Top Bowler - Wickets Taken - Ravichandran Ashwin (DC), Shardul Thakur (CSK)
Most Sixes - Rishabh Pant (DC), MS Dhoni (CSK)
Here are the predicted playing XIs:
Delhi Capitals – Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Steve Smith/Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (C&WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin, Chris Woakes, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
Chennai Super Kings – Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar & Imran Tahir/Dwayne Bravo.
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