It’s still the opening laps of the IPL marathon and the teams are still trying to get a feel of what lies in store.
Team Chennai are on a high after crushing in-form Royal Challengers in the second game, while Team Delhi made the most of their rain-affected first game to gain full points.
Provided the weather holds, their clash at the Kingsmead in Durban promises to be a high-voltage affair.
This game, to some extent, is the battle of openers as well. Matthew Hayden is in prime form once again and he set things up quite brilliantly for Chennai the other day.
On the other hand, the Virender Sehwag-Gautam Gambhir combo has taken the world by storm over the past few months and Chennai bowlers have the unenviable task of keeping them in check.
Chennai skipper MS Dhoni, though, knows all about this duo and he will try to use all his tactical acumen to keep the Delhi dashers in check.
On the other hand, it will be interesting to see if Glenn McGrath decides to play this game. He didn’t play the first match, but now with his old mate Hayden firing on all cylinders for Chennai, he may just decide to take the field.
The Delhi attack will also depend heavily on the New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori in the ‘middle overs’.
It was his magical spell of 3-15 which won Delhi their first game and this time, too, the Kiwi can come into play.
The Kingsmead wicket also provides bounce which can come in handy for Vettori. To Chennai’s advantage, they have a couple of good left-handers in the middle-order (Suresh Raina and Albie Morkel) who have to play well to the counter the Vettori threat.
If Delhi have Vettori manning the spin department, Chennai are no less. Muttiah Muralitharan showed how deadly he can be in this version of the game as well on Monday in Port Elizabeth.
If it doesn’t rain and the Lankan offie gets a good grip on the ball, he can be really difficult to play on these tracks, which are showing signs of wear and tear towards the fag end of the South African season.
There’s absolutely nothing to choose between the two teams and it may well boil down to how they handle pressure on the day of the match.