If there is one team the Delhi Capitals would want to avoid in the Indian Premier League, it is the Chennai Super Kings.
CSK have pulverized DC into submission over the years and that is reflected in the head to head record, which CSK lead, 15-6. DC can claim to be a team reborn since last season but that didn't affect their fortunes against the 'yellow brigade'. CSK beat them twice in the group phase last season and then ended their hopes of making it to the final by beating them in the play-off.
Shreyas Iyer and his team will have to improve massively on their performance from their opening match. Marcus Stoinis single-handedly took their score to respectability against KXIP and then did the trick with the ball too as DC forced a Super Over where Rabada was at his best. The batting looked awful to say the least and that needs to be fixed. Shikhar Dhawan was unlucky to be run out and the southpaw should be able to get his campaign going. Prithvi Shaw looked undercooked and with Ajinkya Rahane in the squad, Ponting should opt for the experienced pro.
Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant will be expected to anchor the middle order against some quality CSK bowling. Shimron Hetmyer looked terribly unfit and underprepared, despite playing in the Caribbean Premier League recently and that should prompt Ponting to opt for the in-form Alex Carey, who is fresh from scoring a match-winning century against England. Stoinis will be the floater in both batting and bowling line-ups again while Rabada will be expected to produce the goods against a strong CSK batting unit along with countryman Nortje.
Ashwin's injury has created a void in the line-up which could be filled by the veteran Amit Mishra. If Ishant Sharma is fit then he should replace Mohit Sharma in the line-up.
MS Dhoni is known for keeping faith in his playing XI and he would continue with the same team despite the loss against Rajasthan Royals. Lungi Ngidi was off colour against Royals and if Josh Hazlewood is available for selection, then the Aussie could be given a debut. Rest of the squad looks settled. Ambati Rayudu, according to reports, is expected to miss out on the clash and that could mean a longer run in the playing XI for Ruturaj Gaikwad, who scored a duck on IPL debut on Tuesday night.
If Delhi want to continue their winning run, they need the experienced international pros to put their hand up and be counted against a tough opposition who have had their number over the years.