The fizz has gone out of this contest. Two of Virender Sehwag’s finest Test innings have come at Chepauk, and much like Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, the Delhi dasher is one of the favourite players of the Chennai crowd. The cricket-loving public, much like the Delhi Daredevils side, is disappointed that champion right-hander is not here, but one man who is going to breathe a sigh of relief is MS Dhoni.
Standing at the doorstep of an Eliminator berth, Dhoni knows that it will be a huge relief for his bowlers that they don’t have to bowl at Viru. CSK’s bowling coach, Andy Bichel echoed his skipper’s feelings when asked about it. “We all know how destructive a player Sehwag can be. He can win matches on his own and he was pretty much the in-form player,” Bichel said.
The disappointment in the Delhi ranks, too, was there to see. Their coach, Greg Shipperd ruminated, “How big a loss it will be? He fired in each of the matches that we won. He is being missed as a captain as well as a batsman,” Shipperd said.
But then he was prompt to add that they have plenty of options. And the fact that the Daredevils are virtually out of reckoning for a berth in the Eliminators, makes them a dangerous proposition. The CSK management understands that well and they are looking to guard against any sort of complacency. “They are a dangerous side and we have to be at the top of our games to win the match,” Bichel said.
Incidentally, the last time CSK lost at home was against Delhi Daredevils (in last year’s IPL). But then, the Man of the Match in that game is leading Kolkata Knight Riders these days and Bichel doesn’t want to attach too much importance to history. “I guess the composition of the Delhi side has changed significantly since then,” Bichel said what he had to say.
The CSK team management is worried about their own team composition, with Suraj Randiv leaving in a couple of days. The spinner had fitted in beautifully and the three-prong spin attack was serving the defending champions really well.