The second match of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) season will see the runners-up of the last two seasons, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Capitals (DC), face off. In IPL 2020, the two teams experienced contrasting fortunes. While CSK missed the playoffs for the first time ever, DC made it to their first final.
The Super Kings have got the better of the Capitals more often than not, winning 15 matches and losing just eight against the team from Delhi in the IPL. While DC won both the games between the two sides last season, CSK won all three contests in 2019.
Overall: Matches – 23 | CSK – 15 Wins | DC – 8 Wins
Last 5 Matches: CSK – 3 Wins | DC – 2 Wins
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms, we have come up with one team.
This match will be the first game played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai in IPL 2021. This venue has usually been batting friendly, with big totals often posted here in T20 cricket.
In T20 cricket since 2019, from a runs per wicket (30.1) and balls per wicket (21.3) viewpoint, the Wankhede Stadium has been the best for batsmen, if you consider the six venues at which IPL 2021 will be played. It is also one of two stadiums – the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru being the other – where the run-rate during the aforementioned period has been over 8. While the run-rate in Bengaluru is at 9, the corresponding number for Mumbai is 8.5.
Since 2019, 20 out of the 33 T20 matches held at the Wankhede Stadium have seen the team batting second come out on top.
While spinners (7.8) have a better economy rate than pacers (8.8) in T20 cricket at the Wankhede Stadium since 2019, it is the latter who take wickets at a better rate, which is more important as far as fantasy cricket is concerned. While pacers have a strike rate of 21.3, it is 24.1 for the spinners here.
During the same period, more overs have been bowled (62.7%) and more wickets have been taken (65.6%) by pace too. Hence, we’ve selected four fast bowlers in our team. But on the whole, we’ve gone with a batting-heavy line-up because of past stats at the venue.
As mentioned in the previous game’s fantasy preview as well, it’s tough to predict playing XIs for any team’s first game of the season. So, more reason than ever to wait until the toss to select your final team. Do note that Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje won’t be available for this game.
There could be a few interesting match-ups too.
With vast experience behind them, Ambati Rayudu and Ravichandran Ashwin will be crucial to their team’s chances this season. Both will be keen to get off to a good start and could come up against each other on Saturday. So far in T20 cricket, Rayudu averages only 18.8 with a batting strike rate of 117.2 against Ashwin.
Prithvi Shaw returned to top form during the Vijay Hazare Trophy recently and will be hopeful to carry on that run into the IPL. But first up, he will be facing Deepak Chahar, a bowler he has struggled against in the past. Chahar has dismissed Shaw five times in six innings so far in T20 cricket, while restricting the batting strike rate to below 100.
Selecting a captain for this game is not the easiest of choices. We have gone with Faf du Plessis because of a couple of reasons. One, because as mentioned earlier, the Wankhede Stadium usually favours batsmen and, two, because du Plessis is usually quite consistent. In IPL 2020, the former South Africa captain was CSK’s top run-scorer – 449 runs at an average of 40.8 and strike rate of 140.8. In six out of 13 innings last season, he scored 40+.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts du Plessis could score 22-33 runs in this match.
Marcus Stoinis had a fantastic season for the Capitals last season, making meaningful contributions with both bat and ball. He scored 352 runs and took 13 wickets in IPL 2020 and DC will be hopeful that the Australia all-rounder will be able to replicate similar kind of form this time around. While he didn’t bowl a great deal during the latest Big Bash League season, he scored 396 runs at an average of 33 and strike rate of 142.4.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Stoinis could score 16-25 runs and could take 0-1 wickets in this match.
Like Stoinis, what makes Sam Curran a x-factor is his ability to contribute both as a batsman and as a bowler. While CSK didn’t enjoy a great season in 2020, Curran impressed in his first outing for the team in yellow, scoring 186 runs and taking 13 wickets. In IPL 2020, the England all-rounder bowled 37 out of his 42 overs during the Powerplay or during the death overs. This is encouraging as more wickets tend to fall during those stages of an innings.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Curran could score 14-21 runs and could take 0-1 wickets in this match
Shikhar Dhawan had a superb IPL 2020, scoring 618 runs at an average of 44.1 and strike rate of 144.7. In fact, in terms of runs scored, it was his best across any season. He also managed to notch up two centuries which was a fine achievement. Dhawan will know that a good IPL season is key for him as there is a lot of competition for the opening spots in the Indian T20I team ahead of the World Cup later this year.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Dhawan could score 21-32 runs in this match.
(Image Courtesy – BCCI)