DC vs CSK

IPL 2021: DC vs CSK Game Plan – Can Delhi’s bowling unit stop CSK’s batting juggernaut?

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The 50th match of the IPL 2021 tournament, DC vs CSK, will see two teams already in the play-offs tussling it out in what could be a prelude to the qualifier one which these teams will most likely contest. Here, we take a look at a key game plan that could play a role in the 50th game of IPL 2021 – DC vs CSK.

NOTE: All stats are updated till 02 October 2021.

GAME PLAN: DC vs CSK

CSK’s batting unit has been great in this edition of the IPL. They’ve managed to preserve their wickets fairly well and have a good scoring rate as well. What has truly separated CSK from the rest is their acceleration in the second half of the innings. In overs 11-20, their batsmen have a terrific strike rate of 166.96 – far ahead of the next best (DC’s 141.93) – and their average of 26.71 is also the best in the phase.

 

 

CSK openers have been excellent this season, they didn’t start the innings quite well in the previous edition. Averaging over 50 runs-per-dismissal, Ruturaj Gaikwad has amassed 508 runs at a strike rate of above 140. Faf du Plessis has also been great - he has allowed Gaikwad to enjoy that cushion in the powerplay. Averaging exactly 46, Faf has scored 460 runs at a strike rate of 137.72. Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu have chipped in fairly and Ravindra Jadeja has led the charge in the slog overs.

So, it will not be an easy task for Delhi Capitals to overcome CSK’s batting unit. However, they do have a formidable bowling attack to test CSK batsmen. DC have three true pacers who can very well trouble CSK batsmen. Axar has been very good in the IPL for quite some time. Ashwin, although not at his best in this leg so far, is a quality bowler. 

 

Avesh has been quite a relief for the Capitals as he has delivered the goods for his side across three phases and has been very consistent in the tournament so far. Nortje, since his comeback, has also been brilliant. 

Kagiso Rabada is a good match-up against Faf as the former has dismissed the latter thrice in just 28 balls. Faf has an average of just 10.33 against Rabada with a strike rate of just a shade over 110. The South African batter has been out 8 times while facing deliveries in the wide outside off line against pacers in the IPL since 2020. So, apart from the new-ball movement, the DC pacers could try that.

Also, starting with Axar Patel in the powerplay sounds like a good idea, particularly if there is enough help for the spinners. Since 2019 in the IPL, the left-arm orthodox spinner has an economy of exactly against RHBs in the powerplay. Also, Faf doesn’t have a good scoring rate against SLA spinners as well as Axar in the T20s. 

Avesh should look to move the new ball against Gaikwad and target his off-stump in the channel. If that doesn’t work, they should try to bounce him out by bowling at a high pace into his body. DC have four good options to counter Gaikwad and ensure that he doesn’t last long enough to push Ashwin out of the attack.

 

Well, short balls and bouncers should also be tried against CSK’s middle-order batsmen. Raina, Moeen and Rayudu have had their issues against high-end pace and well-directed short bowling. Avesh’s numbers, as mentioned in the above chart, are excellent. And, employing the same tactic, the South African pace duo has also very well tested batsmen in the competition since 2020. 

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Since 2020 in the IPL, Rabada has scalped 22 wickets at 18.14 runs apiece while bowling short balls and bouncers. His bouncers in particular are quite nasty – 5 wickets in 37 balls, drawing a false shot on 37.84% of his bouncers. 

Anrich Nortje has set the IPL stage on fire, thanks to his express pace. While bowling short balls and bouncers, Nortje has scalped 14 wickets at an average of 16.07. 

Ambati Rayudu steps out quite a few times against pacers, so to counter that, DC quicks should bowl into his body.

Also, Ashwin might be a good match-up against Raina and Moeen. While Raina has been dismissed only once against Ashwin in 53 balls, he has a strike rate of around 101. Also, against off-spinners in the IPL since 2018, Raina has an average of 23 with a strike rate of under 118. Moeen, in the same timeframe, has been dismissed on four occasions in just 44 balls against off-spinners.

Axar is a good bowler against RHBs as well as LHBs, so that’s also an advantage for DC.

 

Hard-lengths, short balls and bouncers should do the job for DC pacers against Jadeja and Dhoni as well. DC pacers are skilled enough, it will be about execution on the field. Their execution against Jadeja hasn’t been up to the mark, and it is a good opportunity to better their numbers against the Indian southpaw. 

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I am a freelance cricket writer for The Quint, Cricket.com, CricXtasy and Sportskeeda. My articles, which generally revolve around the Indian cricket team and the IPL, present a data-driven analysis. Cheering for the Indian cricket team and Data Analysis are my hobbies. I tweet at @mainlycricket.