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CSK, DD look to start on a high

CSK, DD look to start on a high
The most consistent team across all seasons of the IPL, Chennai Super Kings would look to put behind the off-field distractions and do what they are best at when they take on previous edition’s bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils in their opening match of IPL-8 on Thursday.

CSK were hounded by the spot-fixing scandal, in which their Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan was indicted by a Supreme Court-monitored probe committee last year. But the team, which has made the last four in each of the previous seven IPL seasons, including four straight final appearances and two titles, still managed to reach the second qualifier.

This edition is expected to be no different as they start afresh under the able leadership of MS Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming once again. Such has been their might that three years without a title is being considered a trophy drought and they would look to bounce back and silence the critics. They have managed to retain the nucleus of the side and have invested in Irfan Pathan, Michael Hussey, Kyle Abott, Rahul Sharma. Boosted by the presence of New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith at the top of the order, CSK should not face any problem getting off a swift start.

Daredevils, on the other hand, have once again gone for a complete overhaul of their side, but managed to bring in a few big names during the high-profile IPL auction. Showing a lot of belief in India discard Yuvraj Singh, 33, the Delhi outfit purchased him for a record Rs. 16 crore after intense bidding among four franchises. The team, which finished at the bottom of the table in the last two seasons, would be banking heavily on Yuvraj to deliver with his all-round abilities. Besides Yuvraj, they have also invested in a 36-year-old fast bowler Zaheer Khan, who is also desperate to make a comeback to the Indian national team one last time.

Under the captaincy of Jean-Paul Duminy, the team would be preparing to turn its fortunes around in the 2015 season. Wicketkeeper-batsmen Quinton de Kock of South Africa and Mayank Agarwal are a good opening option, followed by Duminy, Yuvraj, Kedar Jadhav, Albie  Morkel in the middle order.
Their batting also runs deep like CSK and it would be interesting to see how well these big names live up to their reputation.

In Yuvraj and star Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews, the Daredevils will have the necessary X-factor.

Irfan injured, set to miss 1st game

Injuries seem to be a permanent companion of India discard Irfan Pathan as the Baroda all-rounder has again reported unfit even before the ball has started rolling for Chennai Super Kings, who will be taking on Delhi Daredevils in their opening IPL encounter on Thursday. Pathan, bought by CSK this season, sustained an injury during training and chief coach Stephen Fleming confirmed the left-arm seamer will not be available for selection against Daredevils. “Irfan Pathan is not fit. Another pacer Andrew Tye is also carrying an injury. They won’t be considered for selection at this stage. Their progress will be assessed on a day to day basis,” Fleming confirmed at the pre-match media conference.
PTI

PTI

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