Ahead of the IPL Qualifier 1 between Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings later on Sunday, West Indian great Brian Lara has praised the Rishab Pant-led side’s bowling attack, saying that it can “destroy" the yellow brigade, though he has cautioned that the “more experienced" Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side bats deep and can be tough customers on any given day.
“The four teams that have played the best cricket… Those four teams deserve to be in the playoffs. I am looking forward to this 1 vs 2 clash (Delhi Capitals vs Chennai Super Kings). It’s going to be exciting. This is an important game but teams might think they will have another game if they miss out this time around but teams at 3 and 4 (Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders) are also very strong. Neither Chennai nor Delhi would be thinking about a defeat in this match (on Sunday)," Lara told cricket.com.
The former West Indies skipper added that being the more experienced side, CSK could have a slight advantage in the contest. Delhi Capital have beaten CSK twice in the league stage this season but the Delhi franchise have an unflattering record against the Dhoni-led outfit in the playoffs, losing two-out-of-two games.
“This is going to be a tough clash and it’s very difficult to predict what’s going to happen. Chennai have stumbled in their last three games, while Delhi too lost their last match. Delhi’s bowling attack is going to ask Chennai a lot of questions and they can destroy them. Delhi have the best bowling attack in the IPL but CSK bat long. I can’t decide who is going to win this one. Just in terms of talent, Delhi have some amazing young players but Chennai have the experience.
“Experience is Chennai’s major asset. The two openers (Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis) are doing the business but they also have the experience of playing these important playoff games and that could come in handy. MS Dhoni and his brains and his thinking are going to come good," added Lara.
South African du Plessis has been in sublime form, scoring 546 runs at an average of 45.5, while Gaikwad (533 runs at 44.42) too has enjoyed a fairy-tale season, though both haven’t dominated the Delhi bowling. In the last game against the Delhi franchise on October 4, Gaikwad struggled against DC’s pace, managing only 13, while du Plessis scored 10.
Lara expects the two experienced openers to start cautiously against the likes of Avesh Khan, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje and then go all out.
“That would be a wise call because Delhi haven’t been great at the death like they were in 2020. Rabada was outstanding last year and Delhi were able to shut teams down in the last few overs. But, that hasn’t been the case this year! You could easily be prepared for that and make sure you don’t lose the game in the powerplay.
“I feel that Avesh, Nortje and Rabada are doing most of the damage in the powerplay and Chennai could be slightly careful during that phase. They will target the two openers with short deliveries but if Faf and Gaikwad can see off the first few overs, the two could do some serious damage," added Lara.