Zeenews Sports Bureau
Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings have never been the table toppers but always made it to the top four before bagging the title twice in four seasons.
Things were not different this time round as well as they were at the mercy of other results to advance to the play-offs.
Once they did make the cut, they recovered from an impossible situation to keep alive their chances of winning another title. Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed a whirlwind 20-ball 51 against Mumbai Indians to set up the second qualifier match against Delhi Dardevils.
Read below the reasons why Chennai Super Kings are considered favourites to beat Delhi Dardevils in the second qualifier at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk on Friday.
1. After a mediocre show in the league stage, Chennai is peaking at the right time whereas Delhi faltered at the crucial stage after having topped the table with 11 wins out of 16 matches at the league stage. They were humbled by Kolkata Knight Riders in the first qualifier in Pune.
2. After a power packed performance against Mumbai in the eliminator, Chennai has the momentum in their favour. Delhi, however, were the pre-tournament favourites but are now in a must-win scenario and their confidence level was taken a beating after their loss to Kolkata. The fact that they lost against Chennai in their previous encounter at the same venue will give hosts an added advantage.
3. Delhi will find it difficult to cope with the turning track at Chepauk as their pace-oriented attack won’t find the desired result up against CSK. Super Kings' spin department will be lead by Ravichandran Ashwin in the company of Shahdab Jakati and Ravindra Jadeja.
4. The batting looks good with Michael Hussey, Dhoni, S Badrinath, Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay making it a formidable lineup. The presence of all-rounders -- Bravo, Jadeja and Morkel -- in the team would make Super Kings unstoppable. Even though Delhi have a dangerous opening batsmen in the form of Sehwag and Warner, the middle order was largely a disappointment in the season.
5. Super Kings hold a slight edge in the head-to-head record as they lead Delhi with five wins out of 9 times they have faced each other in Indian Premier League.
6. One of the biggest advantages for the Super Kings is their captain Dhoni, who saves his best for the big matches. Chennai under Captain Cool has often survived the pressure and went on to win big games.
Match starts at 8 p.m. Live on Max