The winner of Qualifier 1 will directly progress to the IPL 2021 final while the loser will meet the winner of the Eliminator, which will be played Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Hence, both CSK and DC will be keen to book their place in the IPL 2021 final on Sunday itself.
CSK will not go into the first qualifier with a lot of rhythm. After winning their first four games of the UAE leg, they went down in the last three. Rajasthan Royals (RR) took them to the cleaners in a chase of 190. DC and Punjab Kings (PBKS) then exploited chinks in their batting order and chased down targets of under 140. Chennai thus have some thinking to do ahead of their playoff encounter against DC.
DC may have finished table-toppers but they too went down in two of their last four games. Their batting let them down badly against KKR as they posted only 127 for 9. Against RCB in the last league encounter, DC gifted the match away through some dreadful fielding and some over-confident bowling from Avesh Khan. They dropped Glenn Maxwell twice in a over and paid the price.
Despite the string of losses, CSK are unlikely to alter their side too much. The big worry is over the absence of Suresh Raina and his injury status. Although he wasn’t scoring too many, his replacement Robin Uthappa has also failed to grab his chances. Moeen Ali hasn’t been as effective with the bat as he was in the first half.
CSK’s predicted XI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Robin Uthappa, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Dwayne Bravo, Josh Hazlewood
DC will have to lift themselves after the horror show against RCB. Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw have regained form in the nick of time while Shreyas Iyer will be expected to make up for his dropped catch. Skipper Rishabh Pant needs to score runs though and Steve Smith should be back in place of Ripal Patel.
DC’s predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (c &wk), Steve Smith, Axar Patel, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Avesh Khan, Anrich Nortje
Top fantasy picks of DC vs CSK clash: Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Anrich Nortje
--Renin Wilben Albert