Team Chennai will take on Team Delhi in the second match of the Indian T20 League 2021 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday, April 10.
Under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Chennai have won the Indian T20 League title three times before in 2010, 2011 and 2018. However, the franchise failed to qualify for the playoffs in the 2020 edition for the first time in their history - finishing seventh in the eight-team competition.
Despite finishing at the penultimate spot in the points table last year, the Chennai team management retained most of their players. The franchise has reinforced their squad by adding England all-rounder Moeen Ali, Karnataka all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham and Team India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara.
Chennai will look to turn things around as they return to familiar conditions in India and hope to clinch their fourth title this year.
On the other hand, 2020 finalists Delhi suffered a massive blow ahead of the tournament as their captain Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to a shoulder injury. The franchise appointed swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant as their new leader.
Pant will try to replicate his idol MS Dhoni and lead Delhi to their maiden Indian T20 League title this year.
Meanwhile, Delhi have bolstered their squad by roping in former Australia captain Steve Smith, England batsman Sam Billings and India pacer Umesh Yadav.
Chennai vs Delhi full squads
Chennai: MS Dhoni (captain and wicket-keeper), Suresh Raina, Narayan Jagadeesan (wicket-keeper), Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif, Karn Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Harisankar Reddy, K Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishaanth, R Sai Kishore, Jason Behrendorff
Delhi: Rishabh Pant (captain and wicket-keeper), Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan, Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod (wicket-keeper), Lukman Meriwala, M Siddarth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings
Chennai vs Delhi playing XI predictions
Both Chennai and Delhi are expected to retain the core of their playing XI from the last season of the Indian T20 League. Chennai will be boosted by the return of their all-time leading run-scorer Suresh Raina in the playing XI. The franchise will also hope that Dwayne Bravo remains injury-free as he has been an integral member of the team since 2011. Meanwhile, Moeen Ali is expected to make his debut for Chennai on Saturday.
On the other hand, Delhi will miss the services of their two South African pacers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, who reached India on April 6 and are currently undergoing a seven-day quarantine. The England duo of Chris Woakes and Tom Curran is expected to replace Rabada and Nortje for their encounter against Chennai.
Chennai predicted XI: Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (captain and wicket-keeper), Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur
Delhi predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (captain and wicket-keeper), Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma
Chennai vs Delhi head-to-head in Indian T20 League
The three-time Indian T20 League champions, Chennai have a clear edge over Delhi in the head-to-head record. Both the sides have faced each other 23 times in the high-profile league, with Chennai winning 15 while losing eight.
Chennai have won 50 per cent of their games at the Wankhede Stadium, winning seven of the 14 games. On the other hand, Delhi have only registered three wins in nine encounters at the same venue.
Chennai vs Delhi: Match result prediction
Delhi have one of the most balanced sides in the tournament this year and they will be one of the contenders for the title. With their opening encounter being played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, the track is expected to assist strokeplay, favouring the strong batting line-up of Delhi. Furthermore, spinners might not get much turn off the surface, which will go against Chennai. Delhi will start as favourites against Chennai in the second match of the Indian T20 League 2021.
Best performers in Chennai vs Delhi
Top tip: Best batsmen
Chennai’s all-time leading run-scorer Suresh Raina has a good record against Delhi, amassing 607 runs in 25 matches at a strike rate of 133.40. The 34-year-old is tipped to score the most runs against Rishabh Pant’s team in the second match of the Indian T20 League 2021.
On the other hand, Delhi will depend on their opener Shikhar Dhawan, who has a stellar record against Chennai, accumulating 777 runs in 23 matches at an average of 40.89, with one ton and six fifties to his name.
Top tip: Best bowlers
Chennai all-rounder Dwayne Bravo will be the bowler to watch out for against Delhi at the Wankhede. The 37-year-old has bagged 18 wickets against the same opposition in 18 matches at an average of 23.83.
For Delhi, veteran leg-spinner Amit Mishra is tipped to be the wrecker-in-chief against Chennai. Mishra has claimed 13 wickets in 15 innings at an average of 28.76 and bowling at an economy of just under seven.
Top tip: All-rounders and wicket-keepers
It will be a battle between the master and the apprentice when MS Dhoni’s Chennai face off against Rishabh Pant-led Delhi. For a long time, Rishabh Pant was hailed as MS Dhoni’s long-time successor as India's first-choice wicket-keeper. Recently, Pant has been in great form both with the bat and the gloves as he helped India win the Test series in Australia and against England at home. On the other hand, MS Dhoni hasn’t played any competitive cricket since the last edition of the Indian T20 League. On current form, Pant is the preferred wicket-keeper for any side.
Delhi all-rounder Marcus Stoinis was one of the standout players in the last edition of the Indian T20 League. The 31-year-old had amassed 352 runs in 17 matches at a strike rate of 148.52. Stoinis also scalped 13 wickets at an average of 21.76.
On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja has fully recovered from his injury, which will be a massive boost for Chennai. Jadeja has a staggering record in the Indian T20 League, scoring 2159 runs and claiming 114 wickets in 184 matches. The 32-year-old all-rounder is a match-winner for any side.
Featured photo: BCCI