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Daredevils are a dangerous team: Ravi Shastri

CSK is also a good all-round side feels the former cricketer

Four of the top Indian Premier League teams are in South Africa competing in CLT20 2012. So far, the Delhi Daredevils are the only IPL side to win a game in the tournament. One of the most consistent sides during the league phase of IPL 2012, the Daredevils are being pegged as a strong opponents by experts.

With the tournament still in its nascent stage we asked former cricketer Ravi Shastri to analyse how the defending champions Mumbai Indians, the IPL 2012 champions Kolkata Knight Riders, the former CLT20 champions Chennai Super Kings and the Delhi Daredevils will fare in the competition. While speaking to clt20.com he also discussed the strengths of these teams and areas they can work on.

Excerpts from the discussion:

Mumbai Indians: I would say that that their strength will be their batting. I feel that their bowling lacks the depth and that will be their biggest problem. So, amongst all the four IPL teams that are playing here, I think Mumbai Indians will have to really play above their potential if they have to make it to the semis.

When I see their bowling attack, they rely too much on 
[Lasith] Malinga and here in these conditions you need at least three genuine fast bowlers. So, that is an area that they will have to work around. If the bowling is thin, then their batting has to do most of the job. So, it would mean that they would be chasing more often than not when they win the toss because they will put the pressure back on the batting side and hope for them to fire. So, spinners will have to do the job and unfortunately for them they don’t have the depth in the fast-bowling department and that could hurt them.

Kolkata Knight Riders: It was bad loss against the Delhi Daredevils. I feel that their bowling is a little suspect. And without Jacques Kallis they will be found wanting.

They have to get some more ammunition in their bowling. I thought that they lacked the pace and in the game against DD; they didn’t hit the deck enough. That’s an area that they have to tighten and strengthen their bowling more than anything else.

Chennai Super Kings: They are a good all-round side. They played the two Australian fast bowlers, Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger [against the Sydney Sixers], and they have got Faf du Plessis playing, which is very good and they have got Michael Hussey at the top of the order. So, I think they have got most bases covered; it is basically a win early on that will set them on their way.

Their USP is that they are a side that has a terrific record in this format of the game. They have won the CLT20 in 2010 and have won the Indian Premier League twice. They are a unit that hasn’t changed much. If you look right from their coaching staff and their captain to the nucleus of their players, there are not too many changes there. So, they combine well as a unit and they play well as a unit.

In Twenty20 cricket anything can happen on a given day. If lose early wickets [you have a problem]. For everyone it is about how the top order plays, how quickly the Murali Vijays, the Suresh Rainas and the Subramaniam Badrinaths adapt to these conditions.

What would you do as an opposition captain against CSK? - As an opposition captain, I would like to get those early wickets. I think there is a chance there because it is early in the tournament. They still have not had the chance to acclimatise or adapt; catch them early. They have Hussey, but in these conditions you can get him out. That’s why you need Hussey and Faf there, because they know the local conditions. But I would target the players from the sub-continent who will take some time to adapt. If you can knock them early, you get a win straight away.

Delhi Daredevils: They are a good side. I am surprised that they haven’t won a CLT20 or an IPL as yet. Because when you look at the squad, there is ammunition there. Their bowling is good with Morne Morkel spearheading it. KP [Kevin Pietersen] is back in the side, which makes a huge difference. And I think one big difference is Mahela Jayawardene captaining the side. That could be the key difference. They might not have one anything as yet but, I feel that they are a dangerous team. They are a team that can go all the way.

So what do DD need to work on? - I think all the teams they need a settled top order. The quicker you have settled top order in these conditions, the better you will play.

Ravi Shastri also pointed out that, “Seeing the conditions in South Africa, I think the Delhi Daredevils and the Chennai Super Kings seem to be the sides that I think can adapt the to the conditions the quickest. The most important thing here is how your top-order adjusts to the first six overs.”

“The tactics have to change. Unlike in the IPL where a team went hammer and tongs in the first six overs, here you have to play the wait and watch game. Like you saw with the Sydney Sixers [against the CSK at the Wanderers]. In the first four overs they took their time and still they reached their fifty-run mark, so that is something that the teams have got to do. And the teams have to make sure that they have the quality in the opening department to sort out those conditions. Then the teams will grow better and better with the exposure as the tournament progresses.

But the teams can be caught napping early on as the Knight Riders found out in the game against the Delhi Daredevils, if they don’t look after those first six overs.”

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