Chennai v Delhi, IPL 2013, Chennai May 13, 2013

Super Kings look to nail playoff spot

Match facts

May 14, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Two teams will show up at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday, though for one of them, nothing is at stake. Delhi Daredevils have already been knocked out and the only thing they can achieve is to make Chennai Super Kings' path to the playoffs harder. Super Kings lost their No.1 spot to Mumbai Indians late on Monday, on the basis of net run rate.* A win from their next two games is enough to ensure a place in the final four. Having come this far, Super Kings won't settle for anything less than pole position for the playoffs.

They face the easier of their two opponents on Tuesday, before heading to Bangalore where Royal Challengers Bangalore have an unbeaten record. Super Kings were defeated comprehensively by Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur, though the game was more evenly matched than the scorecard suggests. Super Kings are known to start off slowly before accelerating in the second half of the innings, but bizarrely, on Sunday, it was the other way round. Regular fall of wickets stalled their progress and they ended with a below-par 141. Their bowlers posed a threat in the early stages of the chase but, for the second time in the evening, Royals took control in the second half, thanks largely to Shane Watson's assault.

If Super Kings win both their games, they are certain of finishing in the top two. If they lose both, they could be level on 20 points with two other teams, thereby leaving the final word with the net run rate. During Super Kings' dream run of seven consecutive wins, there was the likelihood of their final few games turning inconsequential, but two defeats against Mumbai and Royals have given their game against Daredevils more context.

Form guide

Chennai Super Kings LWLWW (most recent first)
Delhi Daredevils LLLWW

In the spotlight

In the post-match presentation in Jaipur, MS Dhoni highlighted one weakness in Super Kings' bowling, which led to their defeat. If the spinners get hammered, are the seamers good enough to fall back on? R Ashwin, their best spinner, haemorrhaged 23 off his only over, giving Royals the break they were looking for in a faltering chase. It compelled Dhoni to rely on his seamers, but the due of Dwayne Bravo and Chris Morris weren't good enough backup, going for 71 off seven overs. It's an area of concern for Daredevils too, as two of their main seamers, Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav, went for a combined 100 off eight overs. Yadav leaked 65 of those off his four overs, making it the second most expensive figures in the IPL behind Ishant Sharma (66). Morkel, lukewarm through this tournament, went wicketless. Against Super Kings' lower order, they will have to get their act together.

Stats and trivia

  • Two of Super Kings' biggest wins in terms of runs have come against Daredevils. Both were by 86 runs - the first was in Chennai last year and the second at the Kotla last month
  • MS Dhoni has effected the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in IPL 2013 with 12 (10 catches and two stumpings)


"We are comfortably placed in the points table but we don't want to take anything for granted. So, the next game is going to be much more important for us."
Super Kings opener M Vijay

"With Mahela [Jayawardene] not travelling with us to Chennai, it's another opportunity for one of the international players to step up and I think I will be going back up the order as well, so hopefully I can put some fire in the top of our order again."
Daredevils stand-in captain David Warner

* - 1830 GMT - this was amended after Mumbai Indians' win over Sunrisers Hyderabad

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo