Chennai:Unbeaten so far, the Chennai Super Kings -- sans Australian stars Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey -- will face their toughest test yet when they take on Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League at the M A Chidambaram Stadium on Friday.
Former New Zealand Captain Stephen Fleming is all set to replace Hayden in the opening slot and maintained that although the Aussie stars would be missed, the team had the strength to compensate for their absence.
All the Australians participating in the league have left for a training camp that will be followed by a tour of West Indies.
"I am looking to the match and prove my keenness to perform," Fleming said.
The Delhi team, which has suffered just one loss in four outings, seems to be least affected by the Aussie exodus as their top performer from Down Under -- Glenn McGrath - has retired from international cricket.
Gautam Gambhir, captain Virender Sehwag and Shikhar Dhawan have lent assurance to their batting order with their consistent performances.
The Chennai team has been equally destructive with the willow but Hayden and Hussey's departure would not be easy to cope with.
Bowling has been bolstered by Mahakhya Ntini and Albie Morkel, who have more than made up for the departure of New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram.
On points, the Chennai team remains the lone squad to have won all their matches so far (eight points) but Delhi (six points) have a better run rate than the hosts.
The host team will, however, miss an injured Manpreet Gony, the most successful bowler so far in the tournament, having claimed seven wickets for 134 runs in 19 overs.
It is likely that they would play Ntini, Morkel, Joginder Sharma, Palani Amarnath and Muthiah Muralitharan and Parthiv Patel and Fleming would open their batting followed by Suresh Raina, S Badrinath.
Coach Kepler Wessel is hoping that the departure of Aussies would not hurt the team too much and the replacements would come good.
"Makhaya brings in a lot of experience and will of course open with the new ball. Albie is fine all-rounder and then we have Stephen Fleming batting at the top of the order. So, I feel that our team has the kind of balance that it did not have in the previous four games," he said.
Both teams will finalise their playing elevens only on Friday after taking a closer look at the pitch that is likely to be batsman-friendly.