A tussle against an unsettled opponent in Chennai Super Kings on Sunday offers Delhi Capitals a great chance to string two wins in a row for the first time this season to make a decisive push for a spot in the playoffs.
Although Super Kings still remain in the hunt for the playoffs despite seven losses in 10 matches, the chances of making it are slim.
The Capitals will be buoyed by their recent win against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Sunrisers were a tough opponent and the result was attained despite a lacklustre performance from Kuldeep Yadav. Kuldeep, who is second in the list of top wicket-takers this season, has become a talisman of sorts for his team – the contest against Lucknow Super Giants on April 7 was the only other occasion when the Capitals won despite a relatively dull performance from the left-arm spinner.
The other bowler to shine this season has been fast bowler Khaleel Ahmed, who stepped up against the Sunrisers to enable his team to cross the line in a nip-and-tuck battle. If Kuldeep and Khaleel are both on song – as they were against the Knight Riders on April 10 – or if Kuldeep and fellow left-arm spinner Axar Patel perform well – as they did against Punjab Kings on April 20 – a big win is likely.
Kuldeep will be in business on Sunday at the DY Patil Stadium as the pitches here may be two-paced and the grass covering uneven. Going by the last few matches played at this venue, expect another low-scoring affair.
The Capitals have been effective as a batting group, too, without many batters dominating the run charts. David Warner has made it to the top five after a determined 92 this week, but there have been small but important contributions from Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Rovman Powell and Axar.
According to Stephen Fleming, the head coach, the Super Kings have been poor in all facets of the game this season. In the recent past, however, their performances have been good. They are paying the price for a lightweight bowling attack – that seemed to be the major difference between a victory and a defeat in the previous game against the Royal Challengers.
On Sunday, the team management will expect more from Ravindra Jadeja and M. Theekshana, the two major spinners in their line-up. It will be a bonus if fast bowler Mukesh Choudhary has a field day, as he had at the same venue on April 21 against Mumbai Indians.
The batting has started to become more reliable; Ambati Rayudu and Ruturaj Gaikwad are now starting to show their prowess. But the bowling has to step up against the Capitals to enable a complete performance and a much-needed win.