Friday, October 24, 2008

Chennai favourites in away clash

Can Paul Nixon come up with the goods against Chennai Superstars?

Match facts

Oct 24, 2008
Start time 7.30pm (1400 GMT)

Big Picture

A tough task awaits Delhi Giants for their first game on home territory in Gurgaon. With the ICL legs in Hyderabad and Ahmedabad over, it's the Chennai Superstars who are on top, and it would take Delhi - "one of the weaker teams" as their wicketkeeper Paul Nixon admits - a lot of discipline to overcome their opponents on Friday.

Chennai's only loss in four games came against Chandigarh Lions, and their youngsters stepped up in the absence of key players such as captain Stuart Law and Hemang Badani. But, with the two back, and the team having scored a morale-boosting win over defending champions Hyderabad Heroes, Chennai will be a hard nut to crack. Ian Harvey has been on the mark with both ball and bat, providing quick starts along with G Vignesh; Russel Arnold has held the middle order together; Rajamani Jesuraj has been able to contain and pick up wickets, while Nantie Hayward, albeit a touch expensive, has proved effective as a strike force.

Delhi's batting clicked in their first match of the tournament, with Nixon chipping in with a quick 43, but they have disappointed in the other two games. They will need both departments to come good against Chennai.

Players to watch

Medium-pacer R Jesuraj has been a "real find" for Chennai, says Badani in his blog. Jesuraj has surely made up for injuring his captain - a yorker during practice resulted in a hairline fracture on the toe for Law, picking up six wickets in four games at an average of 14.16 and impressive economy-rate of 5.66. Law would expect more such yorkers from Jesuraj, for opposition batsmen that is.

With just 29 runs in three games this season, the pressure will be on Delhi captain Marvan Atapattu. A strike-rate of 80.55 is much to boast about either and a win will only help his captaincy record.

G Vignesh has got off to quick starts at the top of the order, but he would want to better his tally of one half-century in 15 ICL games.

Shane Bond recently called for international players to come out in support of the ICL, and speak out that the bans on ICL players from international games are wrong. His team would hope he takes that fiery attitude to Friday's game.


"Chennai are a good side. Man for man they are probably the best with players like Ian Harvey, Russel Arnold and Stuart Law."
Paul Nixon, the Delhi wicketkeeper, knows which is the better team

"The team haven't been getting starts, though, and I've been going in with us needing 10 and 11 an over and having to hit boundaries from ball one."
Nixon also know the problems his side are facing

"The boys understand what is expected from them and they are doing their best to improve their game. My job is to motivate them and see that they realise their talent. It's great being the coach of our side. The players are fantastic."
Coaching has not been a tough ask for Michael Bevan