In the 12 seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL), one rivalry has grown every year. It’s the battle between two of the most successful teams in IPL history — Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK). It was the same last year as well, with honours being shared between the sides, both winning away from home.
This time around, MI will be underdogs to the defending champions at the Wankhede on Wednesday. CSK have been the form team right from the start of IPL-12, winning all their three games in a canter but MI like every season have begun slowly with just one win in three games.
MI’s build-up, especially in the bowling department, has been marred by injuries. Jasprit Bumrah was in an injury scare after their first game while West Indian Alzarri Joseph has only just joined the squad to replace Kiwi Adam Milne.
Lasith Malinga, one of MI’s premier strike-bowler, hasn’t found his groove yet after joining the squad late from Sri Lanka. In the batting department too, the middle-order has been inconsistent with all-rounders Kieran Pollard and Krunal Pandya yet to get going.
CSK, on the other hand, like last year are getting the job done. Skipper MS Dhoni has led the way with Dwayne Bravo and Imran Tahir playing significant roles.
Recent history though favours MI, with Rohit Sharma’s boys enjoying a 4-1 win-loss record over CSK in the last five ties. CSK have shown greater depth so far this season with experience trumping age for the three-time IPL champions.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Rohit Sharma: MI skipper has moved back to the top of the order but is yet to fire. 94 runs in three games are his returns so far. Mumbai will need their captain and opener to lead from the front to provide sufficient cushion to their stumbling middle-order. Rohit will definitely be CSK’s primary target especially in front of his home crowd.
Shane Watson: The veteran Aussie all-rounder had two centuries to his name last season and is coming to IPL on the back off a fine season in PSL. Watson’s form has been patchy barring a fine 44 against the Delhi Capitals at the Ferozeshah Kotla. CSK could do with another flying start from Watson, to put early pressure on the home side.
Mumbai Indians: The hosts will be buoyed by the availability of Australian left-arm paceman Jason Behrendorff, who joined the squad on Monday. West Indian paceman Alzarri Joseph also had his first nets with the team recently. With Malinga and Mitchell McClenaghan failing to impress so far, Behrendorff and Joseph could be tried out.
Chennai Super Kings: Like MI, CSK have also lost a couple of players like Lungi Ngidi and David Willey for different reasons. Kiwi paceman Scott Kuggeleign, who replaced Ngidi, will be available for selection and provides a good all-round option for Dhoni’s side.
MI: Rohit Sharma (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard/Evin Lewis, Lasith Malinga/ Jason Behrendorff, Mayank Markande, Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock and Mitchell McClenaghan/ Alzarri Joseph
CSK: MS Dhoni (captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Mitchell Santner/ Scott Kuggeleign, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar and Harbhajan Singh
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Rahul Chahar, Ben Cutting, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan, Siddhesh Lad, Evin Lewis, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Alzarri Joseph, Jason Behrendorff, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Salam, Anmolpreet Singh, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Quinton de Kock.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K M Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan (wk), Scott Kuggeleign.
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First Published: April 3, 2019, 4:36 PM IST