Chennai Super Kings wary of Delhi Daredevils (Preview)

May 1st, 2008 - 1:53 pm ICT by admin  

By Anand Philar
Chennai, May 1 (IANS) The high-flying Chennai Super Kings will meet their toughest rivals yet when they face Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament here Friday. Having chalked up four wins in a row to head the IPL points table, the Super Kings are on a roll. But then for their fifth outing, they would be without Australians Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey, besides New Zealand’s Jacob Oram, all of whom have flown out to join their respective national teams for international commitments.

Daredevils, boasting one of the best bowling attacks in the IPL, have mainly depended on home grown talent. Against the Bangalore Royal Challengers Wednesday night in Delhi, the Daredevils showcased their all-round ability, something the Super Kings need to be concerned about.

Super Kings coach Kepler Wessels, while admitting to his team’s comparatively weak bowling attack, said that his overall strategy was to “bat out the opponents”, meaning playing to his team’s strength.

However, on the plus side, the departure of the trio of foreign recruits has served to strengthen their bowling with South Africans Makhaya Ntini and Albie Morkel coming into the team. All-rounder Morkel did play against the Challengers last week and has a reputation of being a big hitter.

In fact, Morkel replaced the world’s best bowler, Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. The omission of Muralitharan did raise a few eyebrows, but Wessels justified the change citing the conditions in Bangalore and the seaming pitch.

But looking ahead, Wessels said: “Makhaya brings in a lot of experience and will of course open with the new ball. Albie is fine all-rounder and then we have Stephen Fleming batting at the top of the order. So, I feel that our team has the kind of balance that it did not have in the previous four games.”

Fleming, the former New Zealand captain, stayed on the bench in the previous four games, and by the looks of it, is very keen to go out and perform at the MA Chidambaram Stadium Friday. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will certainly count upon Fleming’s vast experience, both as a batsman and captain.

The only cause for concern in the Super Kings’ camp is injury to seamer Manpreet Gony, who is reportedly down with a bout of fever, but expected to be fit for Friday’s game.

The Daredevils, despite the lone reverse against Kings XI Punjab, have looked a highly capable outfit with skipper Virender Sehwag having the benefit of a strong batting line-up and an equally efficient bowling attack, spearheaded by Glenn McGrath. The retired Australian Wednesday night became the first bowler to take four wickets in an IPL match.

Both teams will finalise their playing XIs only Friday after taking a closer look at the pitch that is likely to be batsman-friendly.

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