Chennai Super Kings have washed away all their sins in the league by winning the eliminator against Mumbai Indians to take a giant step towards a slot in the IPL 5 final. The defending champions are set to meet Delhi Daredevils, in Chennai, on Friday, in what is virtually a semi-final to decide which of the two will cross swords with KKR who are already in the final by virtue of their win against Delhi on Tuesday.
CSK have emerged as favourites thanks to the swashbuckling form of Dhoni against MI, whereby the CSK skipper came within a whisker of equaling Jayasuriya’s record of 50 in 18 balls. But CSK would do well to take a few lessons from the game. For instance, Badrinath is a more reliable batsman than Vijay. If CSK are looking for a big hitter at the top of the order, they could try Morkel in the opening slot to partner Hussey.
Also, Raina hasn’t been himself at this IPL and that has proved to be at the root of CSK’s problems in the league. Dhoni can think of sending Badrinath in at number three and Bravo at four, pushing Raina down to number five in the batting order.
The bowlers did splendidly against MI and there’s no reason to believe they won’t do well again, considering that both the remaining matches are on familiar ground, in Chennai.
DD need to rethink their bowling strategy after the disaster at Pune against KKR when they loaded their eleven with seamers, in the face of unimpeachable evidence that the wicket favoured spinners. In the process, their batting came unraveled against a spin-heavy KKR attack, while their bowlers, barring Negi, were toothless. They can expect more of the same at Chennai, with the likes of Ashwin, Jakati, Jadeja and Raina at Dhoni’s disposal.
Hopefully Sehwag will wake up soon and adopt a horses-for-courses policy while selecting his team for Friday’s qualifier. Negi bowled splendidly against KKR but without adequate support at the other end. Aaron must necessarily be replaced by Nadeem, and Sehwag must consider bowling himself. In Venugopal Rao, he has another part-time spinner at his disposal.
The DD skipper must also rethink the utility of Taylor against a team that is likely to target the New Zealander with spin. Sehwag has enough batsmen at his disposal and can think of promoting Pathan in the order, while bringing Van der Merwe back into the squad, in place of Taylor.
Bookies consider Chennai as favourites to win and rightly so, especially on their home ground at the Chepauk. But only a fool would underestimate the Daredevils; were they to win the toss and bat first, the likes of Sehwag and Warner could blow away Chennai even before the start of the second innings.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.