Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have had some close battles over the years, and expectedly so for they are two of the strongest sides in the Indian Premier League. But, the situation is not quite the same this time round. Mumbai haven’t looked the impressive side that won the championship a couple of years back, and has also laid its hand on the Champions League T20. They have lost all three matches they have played in this edition so far. Chennai, on the other hand, have been impressive in most departments of the game, and will be keen to continue the good run.
If Mumbai want to look at the positives, it is the fact that they will be playing at home, and will have great support from the Wankhede Stadium crowd. Having said that, it is also true that they were undone by Kings XI Punjab at the same venue. Mumbai have primarily struggled because their batting hasn’t been up to the mark, especially at the top of the order. Rohit Sharma got 98 in the first essay, but followed it up with two failures. The loss of Aaron Finch due to injury is a big setback too. Mumbai would hope that Lendl Simmons does well as his replacement. Ambati Rayudu and Parthiv Patel also need to get among the runs.
Thankfully for Mumbai, their lower order has done well. Corey Anderson has fired in two of the three games, although his knocks have been in vain. The Kiwi big-hitter’s contribution will please Mumbai. West Indies’ Kieron Pollard also made a serious impression in the last game, even though Mumbai had fallen way behind by the time he came out to bat. The injury to Harbhajan Singh is a big problem. If he is not fit for the next game as well, Mumbai will be weak in both the batting and bowling. Mumbai will also need Lasith Malinga to pick up his form.
Chennai would be pleased with their performance so far. Brendon McCullum did not did do a lot in the opening game against Delhi Daredevils, but his hundred in the next against Sunrisers Hyderabad was every bit as enterprising as any Chris Gayle knock. Dwayne Smith has got starts in both matches, and should look to convert his starts into a bigger score. Chennai should be pleased with MS Dhoni’s form too while Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo can turn matches anytime.
Chennai have been impressive with the ball as well. Ashish Nehra was the star against Delhi while Mohit Sharma and Ishwar Pandey have bowled well. The spin department is in the good hands of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Chennai would be keen to win three in a row, while Mumbai would be desperate for a victory under their belt.
--By A Cricket Analyst