All or nothing
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The structure of the tournament deems that it must be so, that at this stage, in the second qualifier match, a winner plays a loser. But when the Chennai Super Kings take on the Delhi Daredevils at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday, it will be a contest of several juxtapositions, beyond just the contrasting outcomes of their last games.
Delhi had after all been the first team to secure the top-four and then the top-two spot during the league stage. They topped the table with the most wins and the best net run rate. Chennai would not have dared hope after the loss to Kings XI Punjab in their last league game. But here they are. Delhi, the form-team of the tournament, have already burned their get-out-of-jail-free card in the first qualifier and are a game from elimination. And Chennai, unconvincing and out-of-sorts, living on borrowed time for long stretches, are a game from the final. If you look at it that way.
A set of opposites
It is not just about how they got here either. Even how the teams aggregate, their composition and balances, the nature of the pins that have fired for them thus far and the way they historically shape up at this stage of the league make for an almost exact set of opposites. Delhi's top order has come good consistently — Virender Sehwag had a run of five successive 50s while David Warner, joining the side midway through the tournament, spanked an unbeaten ton in his second game for the side. Chennai, though, have struggled to name the same pair to open the innings for a few matches in a row.
Murali Vijay, Faf du Plessis, Michael Hussey, Subramaniam Badrinath have all had their turns and the current combo of Vijay and Hussey has only recently found its feet. If Delhi's middle-order was its only nagging, and as yet unresolved worry, Chennai always had the personnel to pull off the lower order heist and seem to have gotten their house in order in that department just in time.
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