PRIDE AT STAKE

Bot­tom-placed Delhi to clash with mighty Chen­nai tonight

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CHEN­NAI Su­per Kings will eye the top spot on the points ta­ble when they face bot­tom-placed Delhi Dare­dev­ils in a dead rub­ber In­dian Premier League (IPL) match at Feroz Shah Kotla Sta­dium in New Delhi on Fri­day.

Get­ting the leg­endary Ricky Ponting on board as coach and a change in cap­taincy in the mid­dle of the tour­na­ment too has not helped the Delhi Dare­dev­ils.

They have had the much needed break of five days and will be fresh go­ing into to­mor­row's game. They are play­ing for pride and would like to be on the win­ning side in their re­main­ing two games.

The man­age­ment handed out IPL de­buts to San­deep Lamich­hane, Ab­hishek Sharma and Ju­nior Dala in the pre­vi­ous game against RCB. Nepal spin­ner Lamich­hane im­pressed and even opened the bowl­ing.

In­dia U-19 star Sharma too took most by sur­prise with his big hit­ting, ham­mer­ing an un­beaten 46 off 19 balls. South African pacer Dala though dis­ap­pointed as he went wick­et­less in three overs con­ced­ing 34 runs.

The trio is ex­pected to get an­other op­por­tu­nity to prove their worth and it will not be sur­pris­ing if a cou­ple of other play­ers on the side­lines get a look in.

Mean­while, CSK will get to fine tune their game against Dare­dev­ils, a team which has been be­low par yet again.

The con­sis­tency CSK have shown in the tour­na­ment af­ter miss­ing out in the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons is com­mend­able and it seems they were never out of ac­tion. They have been solid even against the mighty Sunrisers, who ar­guably have the best bowl­ing at­tack in the tour­na­ment. Also, CSK ad­justed well in Pune, their forced home ground af­ter games were moved out of Chen­nai due to the Cau­very wa­ter dis­pute be­tween Tamil Nadu and Kar­nataka.

Their open­ing com­bina- tion of Am­bati Rayudu and Shane Wat­son has worked bril­liantly while chasing big to­tals as well as set­ting them.

Rayudu, with 535 runs at 48.63 av­er­age, has been their stand­out player which was ac­knowl­edged by Dhoni af­ter the opener smashed an un­beaten 100 against Sunrisers. Be it open­ing the bat­ting or in the mid­dle or­der, Rayudu has de­liv­ered for the team.

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CSK bats­man Dwayne Bravo.

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