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IPL 2020: CSK spinners need to pull up their socks

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Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings are an interesting study in contrast.

Chennai Super Kings have the oldest team (in terms of average age) in the tournament with a core group of players and support staff that have stayed with them for several seasons. They’ve also won the title thrice and have been regularly in the playoffs stage at least.

Delhi Capitals have the youngest side, have made several changes in personnel and support staff over the years, primarily because the highest honours have proved elusive. They’ve never won the title, and frequently, despite having good players, have failed to reach the last four.

In this tournament too, their trajectories have been different, but with a twist of sorts.

Chennai Super Kings, in spite of all the experience, have moved in fits and starts, at times looking haggard because of age not intent.

Delhi Capitals, on the other hand, have been bristling with energy and ambition, playing with flair and panache.

What does all this mean in the context of Saturday’s match?

For CSK, third from bottom currently, the situation could get dire if they don’t. But even Delhi, wanting to make a quick entry into the play-offs, can’t afford to be complacent.

Chennai, while still lagging behind their last season’s form, appear to be building up momentum. The batting top order has got muscle after Watson has struck form, and the vital contributions of Sam Curran and Ravindra Jadeja are a big help.

The bowling’s been a bit below par, largely because the spinners – Jadeja, Piyush Chawla and Karn Sharma – haven’t been able to pick up wickets regularly. With Imran Tahir not finding a place as yet, it is important for the other spinners to click.

Delhi Capitals, while they have looked the best side in the tournament along with Mumbai Indians, have been hit by injury issues which could become an advantage for CSK.

Pant is unlikely to return for this match, and if Shreyas Iyer, who had a hard fall on his shoulder in the previous match, doesn’t recover in time, Delhi’s strong top order would become vulnerable.

It could be a exciting contest, but only if CSK get into full throttle, for Delhi’s bowling – with Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel – is deadly.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and columnist