Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians is the biggest rivalry in the IPL and they are the two most successful teams and have played against each other in multiple finals including last year’s IPL final. Naturally some of their fixtures have been marquee matches in the tournament’s history. Their previous meeting was the opening match of IPL 2020 which Chennai won however no one could have guessed how the tide would change for MS Dhoni’s men who are rock bottom in the standings.
Mumbai will not be content with just a playoff spot knowing that all they have to do is stay level with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capital due to their superior run rate. Dhoni hopefully sees the futility of continuing with Kedar Jadhav, Piyush Chawla, and even Shane Watson from here on. Most teams have had uncapped Indian players really stand up and contribute. And that was perhaps CSK’s biggest weakness this season.
The fault doesn’t lie with CSK’s youngsters themselves but with the captain, coach and management. Dhoni, rather unfairly, critiqued the youngsters at his disposal even though they did no wrong in the one or two opportunities that came their way. If the captain didn’t believe in these players, the management should have taken up signing uncapped Indians as their primary target in the auction.
While they still have a shot of making it to the playoffs mathematically, it will be extremely disappointing to see Dhoni back the veterans once again. Not having anything to lose might bring out the best from not just the likes of N Jagadeesan and Ruturaj Gaikwad but also their famed group of veterans.
CSK won by 5 wickets
IPL 2019’s finalists faced off in the much-awaited opening game of this IPL. CSK’s bowlers bowled superbly to restrict MI’s batters to 162, before Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu put on a clinical display with the bat to take CSK to a statement win. CSK looked set for another strong season, but things have derailed since for a myriad of reasons. MI, on the other hand, have shown that that game was a mere hiccup and are in a strong position to finish in the top two.
Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan fit to play?
Both the players in question seemed to have suffered injuries in their double super over match against Punjab, with Rohit unable to even come out for the post-match presentation ceremony. Mumbai can bring in T20 journeyman Chris Lynn at the top but Nathan Coulter-Nile would have to make his way to the bench. Coulter-Nile has just returned from an injury of his own, and the team would like him to get some game time before the playoffs. If Coulter-Nile’s bowling holds up, he will likely be preferred in the playoffs over James Pattinson because of the extra batting depth he brings. Selecting Lynn and Dhawal Kulkarni for Rohit and Coulter-Nile may not hurt them too much in this game, but the potential long-term impact will worry them.
They have a like-for-like replacement for Ishan Kishan in Saurabh Tiwary, so they will play Tiwary if Kishan shows any sign of injury.
CSK PROBABLE PLAYING 11 – 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Sam Curran, 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Imran Tahir
MI PROBABLE PLAYING 11 – 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Rahul Chahar, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Barring a few such as du Plessis and Curran, the entire CSK team didn’t seem to have that spark this season. Josh Hazlewood is finally in the playing 11, and could be a handful for MI’s batters. With Bangalore demolishing teams match after match, and Delhi being Delhi, MI know that they cannot afford to fall behind on points, and will go all out for the victory.